Yayoi Kusama’s typhoon-damaged “Pumpkin” returned to Shikoku Island

An installation called Pumpkin by acclaimed contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama has been returned to a small island town in western Japan’s Seto Inland Sea after being swept away by high waves during a typhoon last year.

A 2-meter-tall and 2.5-meter-wide replacement creation featuring decorated yellow gourds was reinstalled on a jetty in Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture, with residents and other stakeholders celebrating the return of an “icon of the island” at an unveiling ceremony on Oct. 14. 4.

The Kusama art installation “Pumpkin” is returned to a jetty in Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture. (Copyright YAYOI KUSUMA)

The fiber-reinforced artwork had been an integral part of the jetty since 1994, but Typhoon Lupit in August 2021 detached it from the metal fasteners holding it in place.

It was later recovered from a nearby shore by Benesse Holdings Inc., a company in neighboring Okayama that is involved in artistic and other projects. It was decided that the damage to the original piece was too severe to repair, so Kusama’s team reproduced another piece of the same design and size.

To ensure there are no replays, the pumpkin has been made stronger and a feature has been added that allows it to be removed with heavy machinery when bad weather is approaching.

“The artwork has helped spread the charm of Naoshima to the world,” Mayor Shinichi Kobayashi said at the semi-annual project unveiling ceremony.

Among the local schoolchildren invited to the ceremony, second-year junior high school student Kurea Horiguchi said, “I’m glad the symbol of the island has returned.”

The Shikoku Shimbun

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