Imagining the Fantastical
Recently we had the great fortune to see a presentation and talk with Japanese-Brazilian artist Oscar Oiwa who was discussing his new book, The Creation of the World, in a great NYC setting with an herb-filled rooftop garden.
Oscar’s art is varied and stunning. Most recently he created a fantastical world called Oiwa Island 2 inside a large, inflatable dome at the Setouchi Art Triennial in Japan, which is held every three years on a dozen islands in the Seto Inland Sea (Setonaikai), the sea which separates Honshu and Shikoku.
Much of Oiwa’s work could be said to fall somewhere in the pantheon of magical realism with hints of a darker edge. This probably makes sense as he was born in Brazil to Japanese immigrant parents. He moved to Tokyo after graduating from University in Sao Paolo and then to New York City in 2002 where he currently resides. He has said he chose to embrace new countries in order to expand his work (and life) as an artist.
The Creation of the World compiles Oscar’s work from the last decade or so and is an amazing journey to experience, full of poignant social commentary. In his opening, he talks about the creation of the world (or a world) in artistic terms. The allegory could go either way in my opinion — the creation of art reflecting the evolution of the human spirit. He talks about a blank canvas, an empty world — the creation of a first dot. The dot started everything. Subsequent dots created a line, a form and things grew from there. It’s an apt allusion and in Oscar’s amazingly talented hands, the evolution is mesmerizing.