Sun Sister (Rebirth) [2022]

    Reincarnation and Revival of a Museum

    Sun Sister (Rebirth) is a giant statue of a young girl exhibited for the temporary opening of a new building of the Ohara Museum of Art. As a bank building constructed in 1922, it was renovated for the new gallery space, and Sun Sister, first created in 2014, was reborn following the themes of “reincarnation” and “revival” that are reflected in the building.

    The Ohara Museum of Art has a main gallery and an annexe gallery for modern and contemporary art from Japan and Europe, and a gallery dedicated to folk art and Oriental culture. With the donation of the building that once housed the Kurashiki Honmachi Branch Office of Chugoku Bank, founded by Magosaburo Ohara, also the museum’s founder, the museum had planned to open a new building. The new building would house and exhibit painter Torajiro Kojima’s paintings from the museum’s existing collections as well as his collections of paintings and art from the ancient Orient. However, due to a lack of funds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, this project has been postponed.

    Yanobe has a deep relationship with the museum. In 2009, Yanobe held the exhibition Kenji Yanobe: Phantasmagoria at Yurin-sō, a villa next to Magosaburo Ohara’s main residence. Yanobe produced a large-scale installation consisting of sculptures such as Lucky Dragon (2009) and Torayan (2004), inspired by Ohara’s Chinese zodiac sign of the Dragon, the fact that Ohara had incorporated designs of dragons throughout the building, and his first name having the Chinese character虎 (tiger). Later, Yanobe created Phantasmagoria–Yurin-sō (2010), in which a video on the theme of “revival” was projected on a giant glass ball held by a dragon.

    In 2013, he exhibited Sun Child No.2 (2011) at the Ohara Contemporary special exhibition at the Ohara Museum of Art. Then, he was asked to exhibit something to the public before the official opening of the new building. He created Sun Sister (Rebirth) with the motif of a phoenix that comes back to life, again and again, wishing for the “reincarnation” of the building and the “revival” of the museum and the city of Kurashiki where it is located.

    In 2015, a permanent outdoor version of Sun Sister was installed in front of the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art. The kinetic version, created in 2014, was transformed into Flora (2015) and dressed in a floral costume, catching the public’s eye.

    Sun Sister (Rebirth) was reborn with a costume with reliefs of dragons, quilin, and other spirit animals and guardian deities, created in collaboration with students at the Kyoto University of the Arts and from Fukushima. After sitting and meditating, she drapes her wings under her skirt and stands up to fly away again. Yanobe hopes her appearance gives strength to the people of Kurashiki to overcome and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.


    *Article source: SHIP’S CAT GIANT SCULPTURES OF KENJI YANOBE, 2022, Osaka: eTOKI.
    (Translated by Mika Maruyama)
    Sun Sister (Rebirth)
    • Sun Sister (Rebirth)
    • production year 2021
    • material FRP, steel, hydraulic unit, others
    • size 400-560x400x400cm
    • possession