Spots of Brilliance

A few months ago, I painted our gate – red, with blue polka dots.  I was inspired in part by a woman called Yayoi Kusama – perhaps the world’s most celebrated mental patient.

Kusama has been hailed as one of the most important female artists in the world. In 2008, one of her paintings was sold for $5.8 million – the record at that time, for any living female artist.

Kusama’s battle with mental illness has shaped her art and her life. Since childhood, she has experienced depression, hallucinations  and repeated urges towards self-destruction.  ‘Every day’ she says, ‘ I fight against dying’.

For the last 36 years she’s lived in a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo – but her impact (in designs ranging from  polka dots to spotty pumpkins), reverberates across the world.

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