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  • Writer's pictureNatalia Koren Kropf


Having gone through the long Lockdown period during which time the WAH Center presented 4 consecutive exhibitions, we have realized the crucial reality of Climate Change. We need to think seriously how to preserve the Mother Nature. Most visual artists create their works by using natural products of Mother Nature. I became interested in finding out how artists utilize these products. To initiate the idea revolving around the subject, the WAH Center started the fresh fall season with the first show “Clay & Textile”. The show attracted many viewers and they spent a much longer time engaging with each work quietly. I questioned “why so?” Having lost the close physical and verbal communications with fellow humans for a long time because of the Covid lockdown, I began to believe that people started looking for some other ways to communicate, this time through visual communication with artworks. Art consoles wounded hearts! The next show starts tomorrow and is entitled “Wood and Paper”, which invites artists who work in these mediums. Wood and Paper have the same substance, but how artists use the same original substance to create their works can result in a panorama of optical delight with ideas that perhaps we have never thought of before. Many wood artists use wood to chisel sculptures, or cut and glue wood pieces together to build some unique 3-D abstract forms, or bend or manipulate wood material to make it look like wrinkled paper. Many paper artists normally think of the paper medium to use for drawing, or print-making, or photography, but my main interest for this special show was to find out how paper artists utilize paper material to create something extraordinary by transforming that flatness of thin paper material into 3-D paperwork such as paper mache, pop-up book art, origami art, cast paper, hand-made paper, paper collage, etc…. all these methodologies should result in a fascinating show. We have received an unexpected number of submissions. While I reluctantly eliminated many “common” paperworks, I did select one or two excellent examples of watercolor, photography, and print-making. Our life is inseparable from wood and paper, and because we are surrounded with plenty of these common materials, we tend to use them mindlessly and carelessly in our daily life and by overexploitation of this resource we have helped cause Climate Change. We take for granted that these resources are always available. But think about how Easter Island left numerous giant head statues on the barren island. According to scientists and archaeologists, the rat’s population increased and devastated the plants and also the ancient dwellers used up all the wood on the island for cooking, so there was no more wood left and human life there ended, having left behind only those immense stone statues on the island. Yes, many enormous stone statues were left facing out to sea (yearning to be saved?) on Easter Island, and yet nobody in that vast empty horizon arrived to save them. How and why these stone statues were erected and why the human population vanished are one of the seven wonders of the world. Coming from Japan on a passenger ship in 1963 I was able to view close shots of the mysterious standing stone statues facing east receiving the striking beams of sunrise as morning broke. A thrill indeed! How do artists create their artworks out of these common materials? When I see the bottomless artists’ creativity, I had great anticipation to see something inspiring beyond the horizon. You will see what I selected for this show!!

- Yuko Nii, Curator

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