The "Rooster" by Artist Hideo Sakata painted in 1971, speaks of two realms of binary tensions between those on "this side of the line" and those on "the other side of the line," the visible and the invisible, the civil and the uncivilized.
The composition reduces the horizon to a minimum allowing the grey weathered fence to dominate most all the canvass with an alert white peering rooster behind it. It is a play between concealment and the un-concealed. It is here were Sakata's fence is done with suggestive strokes of paint that addresses man-made constructed boundaries set out to divide and classify.
On the exposing side of the fence a shadow of a rifle appears silently and almost invisible to the rooster behind it. Sakata merges the vertical shadow of the weapon with that of the rooster's head. Has the rooster perceived a threatening approach from the other side? Is the rifle aimed at eliminating a specific meaning of virtues represented by the rooster; courage, confidence, kindness and civility? Or is the white rooster alarmed and alerting us in some way?
The return of the Rooster's gaze demands our attention. It is a piercing gaze for a most urgent call for a dialog that departs from virtues that add to peace, justice and the nurturing of sensibility against all that that minus away at such approach. The painting's symbolic significance extends beyond boundaries and walls. It reminds us of erected obstacles such as the Berlin wall, the wall between the U.S and the Mexican border, and many other invisible barriers that perpetuate a contention for the battle of ideas, ideologies, faith, and economic advantage.
The significance of the painting's composition and content outpace the emphasis on form, it points to the political conflict between the west and the east, and the north and south. There is no coincidence between the year it was made 1971 and the Vietnam War. Sakata amplifies this division by painting the unperceived encroachment of a shadow of a weapon as a signifier for violence and war.
One can recall the point and shoot games at local fairs with moving objects as target to be shot at from a distance. Wars and conflicts are not created in a vacuum much less without first establishing a "distance" between those on this side of the line and those on the other side of the line regardless of their dimension.
Born and raised in Japan as a nine year old child, Sakata is a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bombing by the United States. It is this experience the surviving of an atomic bombing, witnessing the catastrophe of war and its aftermath that brings about the painting of the "Rooster." The painting is an accumulation of 26 years in the making after the dropping of the atomic bomb that circled, twisted and folded to and back in Sakata's memory that began as a nine year old child until 1971 the year of the making of the "Rooster." Most all victims of such bombing were children, elders, and civilians hence the "invisible" defined as collateral damage.
Artist Hideo Sakata has a B.F.A from Nagasaki University. He has exhibited internationally and organized art exhibitions in Asian countries and in The United States. He is a founding Member of LELA International Art Gallery.
Artist Website: www.hideosakata.com
He will be exhibiting his works of art at the Jean Deleage Art Gallery Located in Casa0101 Theater this coming Sunday July 19 from 1-4pm. www.casa0101.org