Kiyoko Sakurabayashi

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item 1:

'Courtesan II'

Soft sculpture

Materials: Wool, polyester, cotton, silk, acrylic fibre, hemp, mohair, Paint- cashew
Techniques: Hand Knitting, hand dyeing  
Size: L 40 x W 40 x H 110cm
Date Made: 2003
item 2:

'Courtesan III'

Materials: Wool & mohair, stainless steel wire, spray starch
Techniques: Hand Knitting, hand dyeing
Size: L30 x W35 x H50cm
Date Made: 2004
item 3:

'Courtesan IV'

Materials: Fabric, aluminium & stainless steel wire, Stainless steal chip
Techniques: Hand Knitting
Size: L30 x W35 x H 48cm
Date Made: 2005
about the work

During recent years my work has been focused around the notion of ‘the courtesan’. I am interested in the indomitable power of the human spirit to survive and carry on, whatever the conditions. My work entitled ‘Courtesan’ is an attempt to reflect this spirit. I see the courtesan as an image of the ultimate survivor - women who could be fun, who could be sweet or perhaps just plain vicious; women whose bodies are the front line, whose spirits have to be kept up, who have to make the best of each moment. They may be women of extraordinary capabilities, and perhaps, as women, everything need not always be disagreeable for them.

Colour is an essential part of my work. My sense of colour has been greatly influenced by my childhood memories of the time I spent at my grandmother’s house in the countryside. It was always fascinating to see what nature could reveal. There were wonderful views that constantly changed and shifted with the light, an endless medley of colours. Those experiences are reflected in my work, even today.

This is the story behind my piece entitled ‘Courtesan 2’. The piece was created in two stages. First it was knitted using many different colours and materials. Then, afterwards, I dyed it black. The first part of this process reflects their lives before they became courtesans, and the second stage indicates their life afterwards. When I imagined the reason behind why they had to become courtesans, I decided to dye the work all in black. Yet there are many colours hidden deep inside the black. They make me think of their more pleasant memories from their past. Now the colour has gone, it’s all dark. Those previous colours, still there but submerged, suggest the surviving inner life and spirit.