Garden of hands to bloom as part of exhibition

A North East artist exhibiting at Hyphen – Wodonga Library Gallery hopes a garden of hands will bloom into a powerful call for change and improvement.

Wangaratta-based Taro Iiyama has created Hands Up, a large scale installation of hands made from recycled cardboard.

Incorporating Buddhist symbolism, the exhibition by the Japanese-born Iiyama invites viewers to think about the types of things they’d put up their hands to change.

Hands created by visitors will be placed in a “Hands Up” garden to symbolise hopes for a better world.

“I want people to offer their own thoughts and ideas to this garden, helping to change the world and bringing positive outcomes,” Iiyama said.

A centrepiece of the exhibition is a human figure, woven from cardboard, that appears to be falling into a giant hand below, but Iiyama says the impression of falling can also be interpreted as the figure being supported or uplifted by the hand – another example of the exhibition’s mission of changing mindsets.

“I hope people change their way of thinking in a positive way – and just have fun as well,” he said.

Hailing from the “concrete jungle” of Tokyo, Iiyama moved to Australia in 2002 and has fallen in love with the wide open spaces of North East Victoria.

“I’ve been to Europe and other places but I like Australia the most,” he said.

“It’s the people – they’re much nicer and more easy-going – and I love the words, ‘no worries’!”

Hands Up is on display in the Playspace Gallery until September 4. Entry is free.

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