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There’s a new Yayoi Kusama and it’s inspired by snails

The Footprints of Life exhibit will be the Japanese artist’s first Hawaiian exhibition, and is inspired by a near-extinct species of snails

Just a week after footage of Adele singing in a Yayoi Kusama infinity mirrored room emerged online, the Japanese-born, Tokyo-based artist is in the headlines again.

Kusama has debuted her first-ever Hawaiian installation, which will be opening this week ahead of pring’s Honolulu Biennial. Footprints of Life comprises a 15-piece installation that resembles kahuli tree snails, bedecked with Kusama’s trademark polka-dot print in pink and white. Kahuli tree snails were once plentiful in Hawaii, but almost became extinct after being collected to make the lei garlands associated with the Pacific island chain.

In an interview with the New York Times, Kusama said that, although she had never visited Hawaii, it was “the place I have been admiring at a distance… I think it dynamically stimulates my dreams, and I am eager to absorb Hawaii’s beauty fully into my mind.” She went on to explain the significance of the exhibition’s use of her characteristic polka dots. “The polka dot has the form of the moon, which is soft, round, peaceful and feminine. Polka dots never stay alone, but, like people, they seek company.” 

Kusama’s work frequently interrogates the relationship between human beings and nature. According to the official materials for the installation, “black-spotted, pink shapes are meant to symbolise the energy of life and harmony between art and the environment.”

If you’re a Dazed reader who happens to live in Honolulu, the exhibition opens tomorrow – for those in less exotic climes, we’ll just have to hope that Kusama turns her prolific hand closer to home next.