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Miya Ando’s “Obon”

Element Advocate and artist, Miya Ando, may be most well-known for her intricate metalwork, implementing steel and pigment to create beautifully hand-crafted pieces. However, this past May, she took her artistic ability to Dorado, Puerto Rico, and participated in “Obon,” a 24 hour outdoor art installation sponsored by The Fist Art Foundation. This project celebrated the ancient Japanese festival of “Obon,” a ceremony to honor and commemorate the departed.

To represent Puerto Rico’s natural phenomenon of bio-luminescence and boat travel, Miya incorporated hundreds of floating leaves on an outdoor pond that appeared clear in daylight and emitted a soft blue light in the dark. The project involved skeletons of Ficus leaves, which are abundant and native to Puerto Rico.

Miya coated each Ficus leaf with a non-toxic, ‘daytime invisible, night time luminous’ phosphorescent pigment, which “charged” with sunlight during the day, and emitted a soft blue glow for a short period of time during the night, making it appear as if each leaf was glowing. We can only imagine how peaceful and beautiful this installation was to see in person!