~ Obon Installation// Miya Ando

This beautiful and fragile work is by artist Miya Ando. 'Obon' [Puerto Rico] is the artist’s first project in Puerto Rico, in which she celebrates the island’s natural phenomenon of bioluminescence (which are full of single-celled bioluminescent dinoflagellates: half-plant, half-animal organisms that emit a flash of light when agitated) and pays homage to her Japanese heritage. 'Obon' is a site-specific, large-scale art installation created with hundreds of floating indigenous Ficus leaves on an outdoor pond, which appear clear in daylight and emit a soft glow at night.
Ando’s intention is to communicate a poetic notion of interconnectivity and create an opportunity to quietly take notice of the beauty in nature and the universal transitoriness in life. Her hope is to create an environment of serene reflection, wonder and peacefulness in the site location of Dorado, Puerto Rico.
'This piece is inspired by the ancient Japanese festival of Obon, a ceremony to honor and commemorate the departed. Obon is an ancient event, in which it is believed that during this 3 day ceremony the spirits of one’s departed family members and ancestors return to the home and are reunited with their loved ones, as lanterns are floated on rivers to guide the spirits back to the netherworld'
'The leaves sat in the pond all day and were very unassuming and clear but all the while they were absorbing light. Then visitors arrived and in the darkness I was amazed because there were so many people at the unveiling yet it was totally quiet as people stood and sat at the edge of the pond and just watched these little leaves glowing and floating and moving slowly around.'
Obon was commissioned by the Fist Art Foundation, a Puerto Rico-based non-profit organization that seeks to foster an understanding of contemporary art through site-specific installations and educational programs.

miya ando
Photos by L Young
Via Spoon & Tamango
First Art Foundation