Yoshitomo Nara ‘Peace Head’ Sculpture London Hanover

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Yoshitomo Nara unveiled a new sculpture called head of peace in Hanover Square in London. Cast in bronze and painted white, the artwork depicts one of the acclaimed Japanese artist’s “big-headed girls” with a dotted caption “PEACE” on the reverse.

From his beginnings in a small town north of Tokyo, the artist has developed his understanding of the world through a fascination with music. “For Nara, finding a recently released or hard-to-find recording was part of the excitement of crossing such geographical boundaries,” Yeewan Koon said in Phaidon’s latest Nara monograph.

This was during the 1960s in post-war Japan, where the country and the world constantly feared nuclear war. “Even though fourteen years have passed since the end of the war, things were still far behind in the country,” Nara explained, adding, “It was probably similar to what it was in Tokyo five years after the war… There were remnants of the war everywhere. I had the physical sensation that the whole area was filled with debris and ghosts.

Like his drawings and paintings, Nara’s sculptures operate on many levels. In the former, the artist subverts the kindness implicit in his art to bring out the complexities of emotion that lie beneath the surface – from anger to melancholy. In the latter, as head of peace and Wicked looking (2012), the perceptible pressure of Nara’s fingers and the character’s decrepit eyes are meant to present a remedy to a world perpetually in conflict.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brings back the anxieties of nuclear war, the Nara sculpture serves as a friendly yet chilling reminder to avoid what happened before.

In addition, Pedro Reyes will unveil an anti-nuclear sculpture in Times Square.

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