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Shimabara Crematory   City of Shimabara 2005
Where did we come from, where are we going?

black granite,Aji granite  450x4500x300cm  2005

The looking in from both directions gives form to the bond between families and the people who have passed on. 125cm x 90cm x 236cm

In Japanese culture bodies are ritually cremated. The families of the deceased accompany the body to the crematorium, and wait while the cremation takes place. Later the creamated body is brought out and the family carefully picks up the remaining bones and ashes with chopsticks and places them in an urn, the ultimate intimate conncetion to the deceased. The urns will be interred in the family graveyard. The crematorium is a very important place in the life of the comummity. 

When Shimabara City rebuilt their crematorium in 2003, they comissioned Senri Nojima to make a sculpture for the new space. Concidering three ideas, life, family and infinity, the sculpture is titled " Where do we come from where do we go?" The sculpture attempts to express the mystery of human life. For all appearences our bodies seem rather weak and helpless against the awesome forces of the natural world. Yet human life contains infintite potential and in our small bodies the lies infintite possibilites that are expressed as incredible dramas from birth to death. Our lives are not lived in isolation but one's existance actively involves others, overlapping, weaving, developing a rich and complex theater that can be read like a beautfiul textile.
If we agree that our lives have meaning through this influence on each others lives or existances maybe we can say that the exchange that took place between two or more people won't dissapear with a death, but will live on the the others lives. A mentor's teaching lives on in their students, parents' love and affection lives on in their children.Our lives have the potential to touch others everyday in an aray of exchanges. Our loved ones' death can awaken us to the preciousness of our own lives, giving us the impetus to think about where we are going and encouraging us to take concrete action. Through this influence of one anothers lives we can realize lifes infinite nature and the fact that one small life has the potential to be carried on in an infinite and eternal expansion.
 The shape of the polished black granite sculpture draws the viewer to the central negative space, expressing the concept of eternity. The scultpure rests on the surface of a pool of water that is continually overflowing it's edge. The water returns to the earth, continuing the metaphor of the stream of eternal life.


As families approach the sculpture from the front looking into the void that their love ones have entered, they may choose to walk aorund and approach it from the otherside. This side hints at the viewpoint from death looking back at life.

しまばら斎場 「私たちはどこから来てどこへ行くのか
~「無限」「生命」「家族」というテーマ~(施主 島原市)

黒御影石 庵治御影石  450x4500x300cm  2005

本体サイズ125cm x 90cm x 236cm

重量 3.5t





火葬場玄関前に設置された、本彫刻を「私たちはどこから来てどこへ行くのか」と題しました。人類の、古来からの生と死に対する問いそのままに、、、。 残された家族や友人の方々が故人をしのび、人が避けては通れない死というものを考え、またそこから生というものを考えるシンボルとして、宇宙と自分の関係を感じるための一つの装置として役に立てばうれしく思います。


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