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With support from the Creative Work Fund and others, Sue Mark and Marksearch collaborated with Kala Art Institute to create the Commons Archive at the Golden Gate Library in Oakland. For their current work, the artists took their distinctive, community engagement processes to Tokyo, waited out COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and now have realized their project Journey Itself Home, amplifying the voices of survivors of the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters. Journey Itself Home is in its final phase — through August 8, 2021. See below for a recent letter from the artists:

“We thrilled, grateful and honestly surprised that, in spite of all the persistent COVID challenges, we’ve been able to realize ‘Journey Itself Home‘.  Though the form of the work has changed significantly to match safety concerns, we have remained true to original goal:  to amplify the unheard voices of Tohoku disaster survivors.  We’ve created a trio of mobile ‘Koe No Kinen Hi’ /’Voice Monuments’ to share a unique sound-based haiku created from stories we recorded with young adults in the Tohoku region.  Throughout June and July, we engaged with the community in our Setagaya neighborhood.  Working with a community NPO, town elders, generations-old businesses and religious leaders, we were granted to permission to bring this experiential art experience to shrines, temples, gardens, promenades, and traditional shopping streets. You can see some work-in-progress video here (scroll down the page for the video link).

Our project is now in its final phase, an exhibition at the Setagaya Museum of Art from July 27 through August 8. On two Saturdays from 10:30am – 12:30pm, July 31 and August 7, we will bring the ‘Koe No Kinen Hi’ /’Voice Monuments’ to the museum’s plaza for meditative walks among the park’s beautiful trees. We’ll be at the museum all day on both Saturdays (10am – 6pm). If you’re in the area, we’d love to see you! Also, there will be an Instagram Live event on Saturday, August 8. We’ll share all the details on our feed, @journeyitselfhome.

To learn more about our vision, please see our team presentation at the International House of Japan from a couple of weeks ago. The bilingual video will be fully subtitled soon. And detailed information about the Japan US Friendship Commission’s NichiBei Artists program is on their official press release.

Wishing you well,

sue & the Tabi Wa Sumika Team

Featured image: Sue Mark (center, in black) and collaborating project artists.