New exhibit ‘Mooshu, Donkey, and the Floating Wor(l)ds’ makes its debut at George Caleb Bingham Gallery

The exhibit, which showcases work from former MU student Sumire Skye Taniai, will be open through October.

With George Caleb Bingham Gallary’s new exhibit, “Mooshu, Donkey, and the Floating Wor(l)ds,” MU students and Columbia residents now have an opportunity to experience the talent of a former MU student. The featured artist, Sumire Skye Taniai, presents the exhibit with inspirations from her personal life.
More specifically, Taniai uses her experiences of moving from Japan to America as the main focus of the work on display. Catherine Armbrust, the director of the gallery and old acquaintance of Taniai, describes this inspiration in greater detail.
“What is happening in the work is that she is conflating what’s happening with her memories of the past of being in Japan and her situation of living in the Midwest,” Armbrust said. “Those things are coming together, all kind of tied-up with her desire to re-learn Japanese because she has forgotten a lot.” Although this background may imply melancholy or sadness, the art takes a more lighthearted approach. The press release from the gallary describes this specific exhibit as playful, while also exposing Taniai’s experimentation and personal side. Even in the midst of a pandemic, art still has the ability to reflect the positive side of life. “Everything is political. We are in such a very intense moment globally and personally, and it has been tough going back to school,” Armbrust said. “The work is so colorful and so playful that there is this really great balance between meditation and joy.” While Taniai is now a professional, her humble beginning as an artist actually started at MU. Matthew Ballou, associate teaching professor and director of undergraduate studies at MU’s School of Visual Studies, remembers her fondly. “She was very committed to the professors that she worked with,” Ballou said. “She was very self-possessed and self-aware in a way a lot of undergraduates aren’t. I would always rank [Taniai] among the top 10% of students that I’ve ever had in my last 20 years of teaching.” Taniai displays a wide variety of different art styles in this exhibit. All of them serve a purpose one way or another to her overarching theme of her memories living in Japan and the Midwest. “References to the Midwestern landscape and memories of Japan can be gleaned from the intimate wall sculptures, block prints, watercolors with funky wooden frames and mixed media collages,” the press release said. With “Mooshu, Donkey, and the Floating Wor(l)ds,” the George Caleb Bingham Gallery shines another light of art through these dark times. If you would like to visit this specific exhibit, it is open until Oct. 22. Additionally, Taniai showcases more of her work @skyeatspaint on Instagram. Edited by Sophie Stephens |

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