Aya Rodriguez-Izumi

Wish is an audience participation and installation piece based on the Japanese tradition of the Ema — a wooden wishing plaque onto which worshippers write prayers, wishes and gratitudes. They are traditionally used to convey a wish to the priests of the temple and the kamis (gods) but also serve a social function as public communication within the community that an individual has made a wish in. Historically, local artisans were periodically hired to create specialty plaques on behalf of the public to be offered to a shrine for a specific purpose. Today, you can find emas sold and hung in temples and shrines across Japan. After New Years during the festival Setsubun, such good luck charms from the previous year are ceremonially burned in the annual ritual Otakiage. The burning of the ema is a symbolic gesture that liberates the wish from its writer. In its sister ceremonies the donko-yaki that takes place during the same festival, the bonfire is used by the community to come together to cook and eat new years mochi.
For Wish, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi will create an experience that references this communal ritualistic process in a quotidian manner. Visitors during performance times will be prompted to pen a wish, hope or dream they have for the future. How this simple prompt is interpreted will vary. These adorned plaques will be tied onto a wooden structure reminiscent of what would be found at a temple, creating an installation that changes and expands through out the course of its exhibition. During the performance times the artist will be present, dressed in pink to signal that she is also part of the piece. Her goal is to facilitate communal communication with and between visitors, asking them what their wishes are and creating a constellation of dialogue. Later this year, the used wooden talismans will be burned outdoors, symbolically relieving the public of the burden of their longings with fire and smoke, elements of cleansing. Marshmallows will also be offered at this public bonfire. This makes the physical aspect of Wish a unique event, the remnant and evidence of this performance exists only through ash and experience.
About the Artist
Aya Rodriguez-Izumi was born in Okinawa, Japan and was raised splitting her time between Okinawa and Harlem. She received a BFA from Parsons in 2009 and an MFA from The School of Visual Arts in 2017. Her work has been shown in exhibitions at El Museo del BarrioRUSH GallerySotheby’s Institute of Art, the University of PittsburghSpace Heater Gallery, and Knockdown Center along with projects in conjunction with PULSE Contemporary Art FairFLUX Art Fair, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among many others. Rodriguez-Izumi is a current fellow of the A.I.R. Gallery in DUMBO, Brooklyn where she is preparing for her spring 2018 solo exhibition Project Iceberg. She recently presented solo exhibit and performance in another Chashama Space, No. 1 Pretty at 470 Vanderbilt. Aya Rodriguez-Izumi can also be followed on Instagram.

Wish is the first commission by PULSE360, PULSE Contemporary Art Fair‘s new year-round programming series. The installation is also supported by SVA Galleries.

For more information, please contact Katelijne at katelijne@pulseartfair.com.

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