Japan-born, Iowa City-based artist Sayuri Sasaki Hemann creates underwater worlds with fabrics and felt in installations. Projects like “Urban Aquarium,” which started in 2009 and appeared throughout Portland, recreate jellyfish and other sea inhabitants in places them in an airport and other unexpected places.
The artist says that the project and her love of art go back to childhood, when she would move between Japan, Australia, and Romania, finding refuge in using her hands.
“This ongoing project, ‘Urban Aquarium,’ explores the concept of being ‘out of context’ and ‘displaced’ by recreating a jellyfish aquarium in places where you least expect,” the artist says. “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. This project hopes to create a dialogue between viewers about context and displacement and about the unexpected.”
On the artist’s website, she’s broken down the types of jellyfish seen in her installations. See one example below.