Praise Shadows is honored to present limited edition prints based on Yuri Shimojo's sold-out 2021 exhibition Memento Mori. This is the first time these prints have been publicly available beyond a wait list. Availability is extremely limited.
The limited edition prints of Sakura, Algae, and Vine were pulled by Stinehour Editions, Vermont.
About Memento Mori
Not long after March 11, 2011, the day of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, Shimojo was in New York City, far from her ancestral homeland. She heard reports on the news of Sakura (Japanese cherry trees) blossoming amid the debris in Tōhoku, the epicenter of the earthquake. The disaster caused the deaths of nearly 16,000 people, with thousands more injured and missing. Shimojo started painting Sakura petals in an attempt to process her pain. This repetitive act became a form of ritual, akin to Buddhist monks counting each prayer bead. According to the artist, “By the time I stopped counting how many petals I had painted, I started to see each petal as a life. I conversed with each. I became them.”
Painted with Japanese ink on Indian Khadi handmade paper, each work from Memento Mori follows the overall form of a circle. Sakura led to the completion of four more paintings, all created using a mandala-like sphere, and each different in their colors, intentions, and themes. The complete group of paintings are titled:
"Sakura 桜" implies Nirvana
"Vine 蔦" implies Passage
"Algae 藻" implies River Sanzu or River Styx
"Hana (flower) 花" implies Birth
"Universal Stain しみの宇宙" implies Itself or Yourself
The Memento Mori paintings, having traveled the globe from 2011 to 2021, signify the artist’s own spiritual journey. Shimojo, who lost all of her immediate family members before the age of 30, focuses on celebrating life’s precious, fleeting moments. She asks the viewer to pay attention to what nature is trying to show us. And most of all, she views this body of work as a universal embrace of gratitude and fear, for life and for death.
Memento Mori was exhibited in Kyoto and Tokyo, and had its U.S. premiere in Boston at Praise Shadows, opening March 11, 2021, exactly ten years after the tragic event, while the world was grappling with the multitude of lives lost to the Covid-19 pandemic. Shimojo's Boston exhibition received critical acclaim in The New York Times, NPR, The Boston Globe. The original paintings are in private collections.
Memento Mori Limited Edition Prints
About Yuri ShimojoYuri Shimojo is a Tokyo-born, contemporary Japanese painter who lives and works between New York and Kyoto.The last descendent of her samurai clan who lost all of her immediate family members before the age of 30, Shimojo has always used painting to express the interconnected emotions of joy and pain. Using traditional Japanese watercolor or ground SUMI and SHU ink, her work combines the abstract and the surreal, often playfully and always evocative of the desire for universal compassion.With minimal formal training in fine art, her style is grounded in the practice of classical Japanese dance. Her publications include a memoir of her unique childhood with her late family. She also spent many years studying Hawaiian healing practices and spirituality. These experiences moving between cultures have influenced her work throughout her life and continue to bring new sources of inspiration.She has exhibited in the U.S. and Japan and is in private collections around the world.