OMAHA – There are few things shared across ages, cultures and faiths that resonate as strongly as tragedy and, in response, how communities come together to help those in need.
These themes are the focus of artwork created by UNO art and art history assistant professor Jave Yoshimoto, a selection of which are currently on display at Omaha's Union for Contemporary Art.
The Omaha World-Herald recently offered a look at the exhibition, which draws from Yoshimoto’s past experiences in Nepal, Greece, and his home country of Japan.
It was the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 that originally spurred Yoshimoto to explore the impact of large-scale disasters. The images from Japan that were in the news and on social media drove him to want to do something more than donate to the cause. He created a piece to memorialize those impacted before visiting the site to witness the devastation for himself.
“That’s when I started working exclusively with disaster themes,” he said.
His quest to explore issues of human nature and humanitarian crises also led him to Greece and Nepal. There he met earthquake survivors and refugees in their time of need, helping them, but also collecting their stories.
“I tell stories that are not necessarily seen or heard,” he said. “[I] honor their experience in the best way that I can through my lens, through my visual art.”
Yoshimoto hopes that if gallery visitors take anything away from viewing his work, it’s a sense of being called to help those who need it most.
“I’m not saying that people should necessarily help the people that I’m talking about, but they should try to choose to help the people they feel very attached to or find some issue that they’re more concerned with, that they care about.
“Slow down, look at what’s going on in the world, and look at how you can get involved. That’s basically my message.”
You can read more about Yoshimoto’s experiences and inspirations in the Omaha World-Herald. His current exhibition, “Jave Yoshimoto Tempestuous Microcosm” can be seen at the Union for Contemporary Art, located at 24th and Lake Streets, through Saturday, June 29.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.