An Oddly Serene Moment

by Maho Donowaki

My cross cultural experiences (Japan, Turkey and the United States) brought me to a place where I constantly had hardships with language. The stimulations of unfamiliar cultures and continuous changes in environment kept me in a vulnerable space, making me extremely sensitive to my surroundings. This hardship with language and sensitivity made me an artist that communicates through body and senses. The work I make visualizes my personal reality by focusing on the sensations and structure of emotions. They are based on the relations of present and past, identity, and the multiple selves I have within me. My art allows me to speak, re-evaluate, and re-experience my current state.

“The Oddly Serene Moment” is a work based on an experience I had in which I realized there was a second self disconnected from my body watching me while I was experiencing a strong connection and disconnection with a very close person.

The texture of the emotions felt through contradicting parallel relationships (the two selves, another person and I), is being represented by bathing in a specific Asian sauce (made from water, chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, salt, potato starch) for ten minutes and the necessity of moving out from it. For me, food is a type of nonverbal communication, and a material that is closest to the sensations of the reality I experience.

Maho Donowaki is a Japanese artist currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She is an interdisciplinary artist visualizing her personal reality by focusing on sensation and structure of emotions. Her work focuses on the relationship between memory, childhood, identity, and multiple selves. She received her BFA from Tama Art University in Tokyo, and graduates later this year from the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts. Group exhibitions include “The Symbolists: Les Fleurs du mal” (Hesse Flatow, New York, 2021), “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Staying Afloat” (Tutu Gallery, Brooklyn/online, 2020), and “& a pause, & a rose” (CP Project Space, New York, 2019).