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Object of the Week: Untitled (Vase)

In this time of uncertainty, OMCA Curator of Art Carin Adams reflects on Haruko Obata’s incredible hand-carved vase as a reminder of resilience.


Every week, OMCA staff—from curators to gallery guides—reflect on an object from the Museum’s extensive collections that shares insights and inspiration for our present moment. 

From Carin Adams, OMCA Curator of Art: My Object of the Week is this incredible vase by Haruko Obata. I love it for its intrinsic beauty and for the story of resilience and dedication it represents.

Before World War II Haruko Obata, the wife of renowned artist Chiura Obata, was among the first Ikebana teachers in the United States. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging. Mrs. Obata carved this incredible vessel using only a nail attached to a stick while she was incarcerated in the Topaz Detention Center, Utah in 1943. 

In this time of uncertainty, I’m reminding myself that artists have always had a role in helping society understand trauma, starting over, and re-imagining the future.