Hakoniwa (hӓ ko ne wӓ) is a Japanese word that means a boxed garden or a miniature garden. It also refers to Sandplay therapy that was developed by Dora Kalff, a Jungian therapist in Switzerland in the 1950s to ‘60s. This therapy is an action-oriented and artistic psychotherapy practiced mostly in Japan and the West. In contrast to most Western psychotherapies, which emphasize verbal and direct expression or linear and cause-effect thinking. Hakoniwa makes significant use of nonverbal communication, concrete activity, and a holistic perspective. I found Hakoniwa therapy very interesting as I am a Japanese person who has been adopted into American culture and who often has been told that my artwork relates to some abstract concept of healing. In the typical Sandplay therapy setting, a patient is invited to spend time in a private room with a sand box and a variety of miniature figures to create and arrange their own world freely. What I would like to propose for the exhibit is to set up sandboxes in the middle of the gallery and install shelves on the walls with many 'hand' figures displayed along with other items. Those hands are available for people to move from the shelves and bring to the sand box to arrange or to play, and return them to the shelves. A reason why I would like to have primary hand figures available instead of offering many items is to emphasize the significance and meanings of hands in our lives. Hands are such complex structures and anatomy that allows us to express and communicate. Fingers are the richest source of tactile feedback in our bodies and the sense of touch is intimately associated with hands. We shake hands to greet people, we put hands together to pray, we use fists to fight, we put hands to feel temperature, we use hands to measure things, we wave hands to say good bye…, and these are only a few examples.
Artist’s Presentation - April 4, 2015 at 1pm