The Great Wave of Kameido, Daydream 2009-2017

« Sakura Passage

This painting bears some heavy years and feelings in it. I started painting it in 2009, during my first attendance at the Art Colony Duga, the colony created to support an orphanage in Kulen Vakuf. It marks my start of being active supporter of the orphanage, but it also marks my friendship with Admir Lješčanin, a founder and a director of the orphanage. I didn´t finish it at that moment, I was too disturbed, the canvas was not right size, the colors were no good, the crape tape was not sticking… and it just didn´t function. We decided to have it signed but it was never on sale, and I have always considered it as unfinished. It was supposed to represent a daydream, illusion of Kameido plum garden caught in a whirl like the composition of the Great Wave. It was supposed to be fusion of Hokusai and Hiroshige. But it was not finished. For that year I donated Ejiri at Nite (A Sudden Gust of Wind) after Hokusai that I painted in my studio.

Upon my return from Japan, I asked Admir to bring me the painting so I could finish it, I was ready. And he did. But unfortunately I also found out that Admir was also heaving hard time fighting cancer. It had been a long fight, with partial remissions going on for the last 5 years. The thing is, with him you could never tell how hard it was. He had strength for all of us and love for life that easily could set us at ease. To our horror, Admir passed away in April 2017. And I was left with the unfinished painting, one that marks the length of our friendship.

With those feelings I couldn´t work on it longer than a few hours per week, sometimes I was taking a break for the whole month. You see, this is not the first time for me to lose a very good friend that I befriend and have known in short period of time. A death of a good friend moved me 11 years ago, and now, a death of another froze me, made me stop, and look back. At one point the painting was all dark, and I couldn´t break from the darkness. One day I spotted a bird like the shape in it, and when I approached it, pull it out, it reminded me of my goofing with my son this summer. I would go out of our summer house and I would pretend that I was an owl. He would run out to look for an owl. And one day while goofing we spotted a woodpecker together. So this bird became a memory of a woodpecker. Now, the thing about Kameido is that, the plum garden of Hiroshige´s ukiyo-e is also gone. Kameido nowadays is dominated by the shadow of Tokyo Skytree. So instead of painting plum flowers, I started painting my cherry blossom over plum trees, for hanami is my fondest memory of Tokyo. When I was finished, the painting turned out to be one of my brightest and cheerful paintings I ever did. The rhythm of the flowers lay over the strings of the Great Wave and golden background is just bursting with life-force.

So in a way, this painting is my requiem for a friend, but with the promise of hope, of continuation of his good work where enriched life prevails.