During the 2011 tsunami and Tōhoku earthquake in Japan that set off the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it was one of the most devastating environmental events of our time, with its overall impact rippling across the globe for years to come. But just as mentioned in Newton’s third law, every time there is an action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction. It so happened that it also made the Japanese respond to the grand destruction in an effort to rebuild their country. Such great pain was captured in this staggering new artwork by Manabu Ikeda titled Rebirth.
Starting in July of 2013, Ikeda toiled away on the 13 x 10 foot piece for 10 hours a day inside a basement studio at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin. He finished work just last week.
Rebirth tries to showcase a tree rising from the debris of the tsunami at its core as enormous waves crash nearby. However, a closer inspection shows that thousands of small details, the individual stories of anonymous animals, people and plants. And as they fight for survival and try to return their world to a semblance of order.
Ikeda says that in his work he seeks to replicate the beautiful chaos of life that rarely fits a simple linear narrative. Instead, everything crashes together and interacts in unknown and unexpected ways, an idea that applies directly to his process as he often doesn’t know what each day will bring as he works inch by inch on the near endless canvas before him.