Junior High School art textbook introduces the work of Yuken Teruya

Junior High School art textbook introduces the work of Yuken Teruya


March 31, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Publishing company Nihon Bunkyo Shuppan has introduced “Color The World,” an artwork by Yuken Teruya, in a junior high school art textbook.

Originally from Haebaru, Okinawa, Yuken Teruya now resides in New York City.

His artwork “Color The World” is made up of the national flags from 196 nations and regions of the world. Teruya says that he created it in an attempt to take a step towards a solution for the intangible unrest that he senses has lingered in society since the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Seeing New York filled with Stars and Stripes flags after 9/11, Teruya felt that while a national flag can serve to bring people together, it also excludes people who do not fall into the category represented by that specific flag. This experience motivated him to create the artwork. Teruya made the sizes of all the national flags the same and arranged them like a map of the world. By doing this, he said, “I think it shows one of the ways in which people all around the world can view each other as equals.”

His artwork tells us that nations near each other have common patterns in their flag designs and that those nations and adjacent neighbors are actually linked. Teruya said, “I think that expressing unease and issues in a shared form may help lead us to a solution.”

Nihon Bunkyo Shuppan explained why it introduced his work in the junior high school art textbook, saying, “This artwork poses the question: ‘What is peace?’ We would like junior high school students to think about issues of war and peace in today’s society.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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