Memory Of Green
Stand in front of Memory of Green, and the most natural thing in the world is to touch it. Something in the figure’s tender embrace, its fluid lines and solid strength, draws the viewer’s hand to trace a line, to explore the surface, to connect.
Masaru Bando would be pleased, for he has said of his work: “I want the sculptures to touch the viewer through their immediacy and expression. In the same way I want the viewer to enliven the sculptures through touching.”
Touching is central to both the appeal and the story of Memory of Green. It evokes, the artist explains, the feeling he had growing up on a northern island of Japan when, after winter’s harsh cold, the return of springtime’s soft greenness gave him “a strong, secure feeling of being harbored by strong arms” — a sense of warmth, and endless generosity and mercy. In the viewer, too, it evokes a sense of comfort and connection.
Audio Tour: Hear Bando tell you about his piece
I studied sculpture at an art university in Tokyo for 2 years. And then I studied at the Roma Accademia and the Italian sculptor Emio Greco. I had lived and worked for 10 years in Rome. After that I moved to New York in 1983. Right now, I have a studio in New York City and studio in Hokkaido, Japan.
Masaru Bando, sculptor of Memory of Green, describes how his memories inspired this piece:
“I was born and raised in Hokkaido, the north island of Japan. There the winter climate is severe and harsh. There are times when the ground is frozen as deep as 6 feet. Then comes springtime, the wheat fields all around are covered with fresh and lively green. It is beautiful, the strong contrast between black, wet soil and spring green fields.
When I was a child, every time I saw the scenery, I received a strong, secure feeling of being harbored by strong arms of something, something I can describe as huge, warm, and endless generosity and mercy. I created this sculpture as a childhood memory of such a green.”
Artist: Masaru Bando
Details: Bronze, 5’8″ high. Cast in Rome. Installed 2000.
Site: Entrance to Tower Park, Diligence Drive at intersection with Thimble Shoals Boulevard, Oyster Point
About The Artist: Masaru Bando
Memory of Green, Natural, and Due, the Bando sculptures in Newport News, speak to the artist’s fascination with what it means to be human.
He explains, “I am interested in the human condition and its expression. My work begins with the study of life models, from which I make life-size charcoal drawings and abstract and figurative sculptures in clay, plaster, wood and bronze. Thinking and working with the figure includes the understanding of the internal spiritual and physical essence of the human form as well as the expansion of the form into the surrounding space.”
Bando was born in 1952 in Hokkaido, Japan. At the age of 22, after studying sculpture at Tokyo Zoukei University, he went to Italy, as many sculptors do, to study at the Academia Della’Arte in Rome. Soon, he was exhibiting in Italy and Paris, and in 1979, he won the International Premio Rome Award.
Beginning in the 1980s, Bando has exhibited extensively and created commissioned works. His sculpture is in the collections of museums, sculpture parks and corporate facilities, primarily in Japan but also in the United States and Korea. He divides his time between Japan and New York City.
Bando’s website: www.masarubando.com