Talking on Refugees: Artist Jave Yoshimoto Identifies with Godzilla

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Renowned artist Jave Yoshimoto visits Ohio University to give a speech in Schoonover building Thursday, February 1st. While his visit, Yoshimoto collaborates with undergraduate art students Nouran Alhabmi, Citlali Elena and Natalie Condrac from Ohio University. Together, they created two pieces of art, showing a multi-layered piece on the challenges of refugees.

The new artwork consists out of several wooden layers.

His speech on ‘Refugees, Resistance & Replication’ is inspired by his experiences in Greece back in 2016.

“I was working as a volunteer to help with the refugee crisis, helping with the boat landings, cleaning up the beaches. And I was very touched by these peoples’ stories and I want to retell their stories, besides what’s covered in the news.”

Yoshimoto’s newest artwork reflects these experiences and also includes the student’s own point of view, as teacher and artist John Sabraw said.

“His artwork is really based on a very activist idea, and my students are very much involved in that as well.”

Yoshimoto chose Ohio University to work with the special laser cutter in the art school to test out a new technique, the collaboration was easy to implement.

“As an artist, I want to be aware of what’s happening in the world. And I want to make my artwork to inspire kindness, to pause and to think for a minute.”

Yoshimoto and student Nouran Alhabmi present their artwork.

In many of his artworks, Yoshimoto includes Godzilla. Born in Japan, the artist grew up with Godzilla being present in pop culture.

“I had the impression that Godzilla is the loneliest guy in the world, because he gets attacked wherever he goes. And in my journey across America I always felt that I was being attacked by stereotypes and racism.”

This new multi-layered artwork is going to be on exhibition in Kennedy Museum of Arts, including its story of creation.