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Eclosion – The World Might Change#1801

For several years starting from the 3.11 earthquake disasters in Japan, Maruyama observed the metamorphosis process of swallowtail butterflies. The swallowtails solemnly followed a series of transition stages without regard to humans, who were shaken by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accidents that would continue to influence human lives into the overwhelmingly distant future. The small swallowtails were like sacred existences to Maruyama, as they revealed a lifecycle that was within the grand cycle of the universe and earth, while also showing her that humans and swallowtails are surviving in such a world.

The pupa period in the metamorphosis process is the most miraculous stage of transition from larva to butterfly. The pupa is similar in form to King Tut’s coffin, staying motionless for around ten days, as if it were dead or meditating. It is said that the inside of a pupa turns into a soupy liquid, in which a simultaneous process involving the death and birth of cells takes place. To Maruyama, that state in which the pupa “silently prepares for rebirth” overlaps with the people in Fukushima, who endeavored to overcome the hardship through changing their society and the social awareness they had before the 3.11 disasters.

This work expresses the time of eclosion, showing how the butterflies that are about to fly have revived from the pupa stage, while also demonstrating their will to live. The Aizu folklore book Aizu Monogatari (lit. stories of the Aizu region in Fukushima Prefecture) contains highly imaginative stories that portray extraordinary creatures. The butterflies in her work transform into those creatures and scatter about in midair, attempting to change the world with amazing feats of imagination like the ones in the works of folklore. Via this work, Maruyama is sending her support to the people who have survived the fate of being in the areas of the earthquake that shook the world, and who are still striving for recovery.