Landmarks - Public Art in the Capital Region


Flying Fish by Harumi Ota

Flying Fish by Harumi Ota
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Artwork DescriptionMobiles depicting the spirtual journey and lifecycle of salmon. The mobiles are suspended by rod and chain ceiling hangers.
Artwork Statement"In Japan, where I am from, we pray for the health, and happiness of children each May 5th. As part of this celebration (Kodomo no hi) we fly streamers shaped like carp. We have a story (in Japan) according to which carp swim upstream, and then up a waterfall, and away into the sky, to eventually turn into dragons.? In Japanese culture, the carp stands for courage and perseverance because of its strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, while the dragon in this circumstance represents eternal happiness.?Here on the West Coast, the migrating salmon are, to First Nations, mystical creatures with a strong symbolism attached to them. Because of this, when they eat salmon, they gain something spiritual from the experience.? According to West Coast First Nation legend Salmon were actually humans who enjoyed eternal life and lived in large villages, far under the ocean. In the spring, they put on their Salmon disguises and offered themselves to the villagers as food. The First Nations believed that when entire fish skeletons were returned to the sea, the spirits would rise again and change into Salmon people. In this way, the cycle could begin again the following year. ?I used (the salmon) as the motif for this proposal, as it represents a kind of Spiritual Journey, salmon swimming up from the earth to the heavens. The image of climbing and intertwining (suggested by the artwork) also represents the idea of today?s generation, regardless of background, mingling to create new cultures for the future."

About Harumi Ota

DatesBorn: Japan
Artist BioHarumi Ota is an interdisciplinary artist, who formally trained in ceramics at the Kutani Ceramics Institute in Terai Japan, and has exhibited his work in New Zealand, the United States, Japan and Canada.
Artist ResumeBA, Kanagawa University, 1982; Kutani Ceramics Institute, 1988


Artwork TypeMobile
Medium4 types of metal mesh, wire cloth or fabric, chain, fasteners
Reference #11
SiteSaanich Commonwealth Place (Stairwell to Fitness Studio), 4636 Elk Lake Drive.
Art CategoryCivic Public Art
Selection ProcessCivic: By Jury - Open Competition
Municipality/NeighbourhoodSaanich: Royal Oak



Type of Artwork