Art helped me, Hisae Sasaki

I grew up in the country side, in a small village in the region of Akita, situated in the north of Japan.

There was a lot of nature and many rice fields, and every season had its own beautiful scenery.

In the Winter, there was a lot of snow, which was beautiful. I sometimes had to walk in the blizzard, and it was cold and difficult. The sky was almost always grey. I felt lonely. I missed the sunshine and wished for Spring to come fast.

I actually don’t like the Winter of the place where I grew up.

Now I live in Tokyo. It is cold in the Winter, but not as cold as in Akita. The weather is usually nice then, and I love that.

Long time ago, I spoke with a person who told me that the sceneries of my childhood are important to me.

I was not happy to hear that, and I didn’t accept what she told me. After that, I became busy with my work and I forgot about it. A few years later, I started learning Japanese calligraphy, of which I use the techniques in my paintings. For example, I make the ink called ‘sumi’ myself -, rubbing a small special charcoal bar in water, on a stone plate named ‘suzuri’, adjusting the quantity of water according to the hue or colour, black, grey, very light grey, and then

I paint with a brush on rice paper. I especially like the light grey ,a transparent colour which makes me deeply feel the water.

One day, I painted with sumi as usual. After it dried, I saw how the pale colour of the sumi had covered the whole piece of rice paper. At that moment, I felt as if a part of my heart that had been frozen was melting. I was surprised of this feeling. I then remembered the grey sky of my childhood in the Winter, and also what that person had told me.

This experience made me feel better, as if I was cured from the bad feeling.

I have now this memory of the cold landscapes of my childhood in Akita just like a memory that doesn’t affect me so much anymore. It is strange, but I think this experience is called art therapy.

I believe that art speaks to us.