How did we miss artist Yayoi Kusama’s extraordinary Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees, her installation in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille  in 2013 (and in Singapore in 20016)? When we stumbled on an image of the polka-dot cloth-wrapped Plane trees by Anne-Christine Poujoulat, we felt instant joy and astonishment. We were reminded once again of Kusama’s creating art her own medicine, and its curiously uplifting, even healing, properties for viewers.

I fight pain, anxiety, and fear every day, and the only method I have found that relieves my illness is to keep creating art. I followed the thread of art and somehow discovered a path that would allow me to live.

Ascension of Polka Dots on Trees - Yayoi Kusama
Jeff Web via Flickr

For Kusama, polka dots have great personal meaning…

…a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity.”


I am just another dot in the world

Indeed, photographers all over the world have been captivated by her spectacular installations.

Christophe Sevault
Christophe Sevault

Kusama has said:

Every time I have had a problem, I have confronted it with the ax of art.

 It got us thinking about vocations, passions, practices, arts that actually help us to live in the world, that can be  our “ax” to help us cut through what unbalances us, and find our way to what really feeds us. It doesn’t have to be a profession, as many people think, identity being so linked to what we “do”.  It can be access to nature, crafts, cooking, meditating, seeing friends, writing, volunteering, ANYTHING. But we believe it is essential to find what brings so much joy that it can antidote the difficulties and pain that comes from being in the world.


Second photo: Jeff Web via Flickr

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3 replies on “Finding Your Personal Medicine (Yayoi Kusama)

  1. what a beautiful thing to do… I was left gasping with pleasure. Carole Free says:

    Ohhhh…what a beautiful thing to do… I was left gasping with pleasure

  2. ‘Gasping with pleasure’ is an excellent way to describe how I felt seeing them too. Thank you.

  3. I couldn’t agree more with this philosophy of art being your own personal medicine. I have always felt that we have everything inside us that we need to live, love and be happy. We just need to find it and use it…

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