It took more than three years to complete, but just last month, artist Manabu Ikeda unveiled the 13 x 10 foot "Rebirth" at Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wis. Inspiration for the piece came from the effects of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The event, known as the Great East Japan Earthquake, was responsible for nearly 16,000 deaths, more than 6,000 injured and thousands missing. Hundreds of thousands were also displaced from their homes.
Japanese artist Kazuhiro Hori (first featured here) combines soft, cuddly and adorable with depressing and morbid. His primary subject, highschool age girls, appear dejected and even mutilated by some unseen force behind this candy-filled facade. Slight and anonymous, they are almost helpless in this abnormal environment. In one painting, sugary syrup, flowers and toys ooze from teddy bear stomachs, emulating internal organs.