MIND TRAVELERS' AQUARIUM OPENS AT UIHC FOUNTAIN LOBBY
Exhibition Dates: September 6 - November 25, 2016
Project Art at UIHC
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA
(IOWA CITY)— Mind Travelers’ Aquarium is a new project by Iowa Arts Council and Iowa City Public Art Project grantee Sayuri Sasaki Hemann. Through her material language, Iowa City based multidisciplinary artist Sayuri transforms the Fountain Lobby of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics into a vibrant aquarium filled with rich textures, light and imagined life.
This project hopes to create a dialog between viewers about the unexpected. A latest addition to her ongoing Urban Aquarium Project which began in 2009, it explores the concept of displacement and context by placing jellyfish aquariums in public places where people least expect. It is also an experiment to see how the jellyfish in the aquarium interact with the outside world when placed in unexpected spaces: i.e. the Fountain Lobby at UIHC. Through the years, Urban Aquarium has traveled to many places and spaces; public high school hallway, windows of local businesses, tiny chocolate shop, airport, art center, to name a few. Each migration added a different layer of meaning, history and insight to its relationship to place and its environment.
“The Jellyfish in the wild are displaced when put in an aquarium. Likewise, the jellyfish in the aquarium are displaced when put in front of public passers by. In this particular environment at UIHC where people from all over Iowa come to receive specialized care, this project is charged with another layer of meaning; the aquarium becomes an oasis, an escape, for those in that intense, high stress environment, whether it be patients, families, healthcare providers, employees or visitors of the hospital.” -Sayuri
The exhibit at the Fountain Lobby is composed of 7 different glass cases, 6 of which are populated by different species of Sayuri’s imaginary jellyfish species with their corresponding environments all handmade by artist with a diverse array of soft materials such as wool, sheer organza, silk, etc.. One of the glass cases, named the Possibility Tank, starts off empty. In collaboration with various departments through coordination with Project Art at UIHC, Sayuri hopes to populate the Possibility Tank with the creatures made by the participants of workshops in and around the hospital.
“I believe art is not just a decoration that is the whipped cream and glittery sprinkles on top. It is more than that. It can have a powerful active role in one’s life, especially in this particular environment. The workshops and events of this project are meant precisely to activate one’s mind, to have the patients not just be passive observers but to be active participants. This is a sense of empowerment. I hope to create a shared meaningful experience for patients, their families, visitors, and with the wider UIHC community.”
Exhibit runs from September 6 through November 25, 2016. Fountain Lobby, (between Elevators C and D) UIHC. Free. Open to public.
“I am so grateful for Project Art at UIHC for its temporary exhibition program. They are doing amazing work. I am also grateful to receive support from the Iowa Arts Council through its Project Grant, and also the City of Iowa City from its Public Art Program. In the world today when so much worth is placed on monetary value, it is so energizing to know that people recognize the importance of projects like this. Without the support of these programs, I would not have been able to devote my time, energy and thought into this project.”
The Mind Travelers’ Aquarium is supported in part by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Iowa City Public Art Program.
For more information about workshops and events, visit www.mindtravelersaquarium.com
For more information, request for interviews, or use of high resolution images, contact Sayuri Sasaki Hemann (Artist): firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Artist
Sayuri Sasaki Hemann is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Iowa City, IA. Her work uses traditional and non-traditional textile and craft techniques as a language to gain insights to her relationship to the environments that she lives in. She believes cultivating the community to thrive on is truly crucial in her art-making practice. Sayuri is an active board member at Iowa City’s grassroots arts organization Public Space One and the Programming chief at Iowa City Press Co-op, Iowa’s only community print-shop. To see her previous works, visit www.sayurisworld.com
About Project Art at UIHC
Project Art at UIHC is the department of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics that manages and maintains the hospital’s extensive collection of artwork. In addition, through its temporary exhibitions program, it showcases the work of local and regional artists in the rotating galleries across the UIHC.