2016 Umi no Utsuwa and Earth Vortex:Nobuho Nagasawa’s Interweaving of Oceanic and Island Imaginaries by Midori Yoshimoto

Published in Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas 3 (2017) 130-154


By focusing on two recent site-specific sculptures created on Japanese islands – Umi no Utsuwa (Voyage Through the Void) and Earth Vortex, this article investigates the varying implications of the “island” embedded in the art of Nobuho Nagasawa. Having lived in Japan, Europe, and North America, and traveled extensively, Nagasawa has developed a nomadic sense of life which considers these passages as “islands.” The artist has us look within—using the insulating and introspective effects of islands, and without— to seek new connections and explore the world outside our individual islands of experience. This balance between self and the unknown is a recurring theme in her works. Building further on the concept of self, Nagasawa’s works are informed by the dynamics of community, family, and what it means to belong. In contrast, striking out on a nomadic journey represents freedom, creativity, and self-actualization, which can only be gained along the way.


Japanese diaspora – public art and site-specific sculpture – island art projects – oceanic and island imaginaries – earthwork – optical fibre art – island as self – nomadic passages as islands


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