The one artwork that I found intriguing was the shadow of Totoro at the end of the Ghibli Special Exhibition. This shadow of Totoro is based on a scene of one of Ghibli Studios production, “My Neighbour Totoro (???????),” where Totoro, the main two protagonists Mei and Satsuki, and Blue and White Totoro clings onto Totoro’s huge breast and fly around the small rustic neighborhood. When I saw the mythical creature’s shadow on the wall, I immediately felt nostalgic, and thoughts of my younger self watching the film came to my mind. I personally have a strong connection with the film, due to how it reflects my family in real life. The sisters in the show Satsuki and Mei very much relate to my sister and me, for that they experienced the same conflict like I did with my sister.
When I was little, I always thought my sister as Satsuki, for that she seemed so reliable and independent. I looked up at my sister and even though I did not appreciate the love she gave me when I was young, I now am able to realize how much love I receive from her and how much my sister encourages me every day, just by her existence. In the film, Mei runs away from her father and Satsuki to meet her mother and this result in Mei going missing.
Mei was ultimately found with the help of Totoro and the Neko Bus by her older sister Satsuki, with the film presenting a message of sisterhood and love between family members. This storyline is very close to my heart for that when I was in Canada, I lost track of my mother and sister in a shopping mall. It turns out that they were right behind me all along, but as a nervous child, I never thought about looking around my surroundings as I burst out into tears and ran around the mall to find my mother and sister. I ultimately ran out of the shopping mall and ran around the neighborhood, ignoring red lights with the thought that I would I least be safe if I go back to my hotel.
The hotel was unfortunately locked and I meandered for another good thirty minutes, trying to find my family. Fortunately, during this hectic even, I and was taken care by a random stranger I met in the road. She contacted the police and I was able to miraculously meet my mother and sister. Somehow, when I was little, I thought that Totoro helped me, for that it was in a way, a childhood hero of mine. “My Neighbour Totoro (???????)” is a film that always makes me feel emotional inside, and therefore this artwork also left me sinking in nostalgia. However, I could not feel completely pleasant that when I saw the shadow of the Totoro, for that I could not help but face the reality that the character that I always thought in my childhood was actually fake.
The shadow made the Totoro seemed like a mirage, also because the shadow was not a clear shadow but looked blurry and unclear. Looking at the artwork, I was left wondering if the childhood character I always loved and admired was just another fairytale concocted by the hands of adults. This seemed true, for that after the scene of Totoro flying around the neighborhood with Mei and Satsuki, the scene changes into where the sisters are in bed as if everything occurred according to their imagination, and that it was all a dream after all.
I began to think about the innocence I had in myself when I was younger, playing with make-believe friends, created by my imagination. Maybe Totoro was one of my childhood make-believe friends, that I have made up in my mind, which was never real. It made me depressed for that I’ve grown so much, facing what’s fake and real.
There, unfortunately, was zero information about the artwork, for that the artwork was merely for taking photos. However, it is quite self-evident that the medium of the artwork was shadows and lights. I never thought about playing with shadows to create artwork.
I have seen many examples of art exhibitions where thousands of projector beam presents colorful light and background, but it was rare for me to see an artwork merely using a light source. This artwork has made me realize that there are no boundaries to supplies when creating artwork and that a simple manipulation of light and shadows can make someone feel this much. This artwork could influence how I can create my own artwork, with the idea of artwork presenting simplicity but embodying complicating messages.