One Universe, Infinite Dots

By Natasha Nitturkar

Imagine a world without art – colourless and unimaginative. Like a life without a soul…

Art in many forms is a necessity of life. It not only does it helps us to understand the past, but also to influence a society’s perception and often open peoples mind out to something new. 

Art today has evolved from being a way of documenting history to exploring the ideas of self-exploration and cater to a global environment that is culturally diverse and technologically advancing. Likewise art is essential for our growth as well as a child’s growth and development. 

Back in the spring of 2014, Fausto Gilberti, an Italian artist, author and illustrator, took his children to see an exhibition by fellow Italian artist and wondered how could he help them understand the complicated wild lives and bizarre but fantastic works of important contemporary artists? Combining his experience as an illustrator and author he decided to create artist biography books to make contemporary art more approachable for creative and curious kids.

The third in the series, Gilberti’s latest – Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn’t Sorry, is a quirky real life story of one of the most important contemporary Japanese artist of our times. Combining his signature inky black and white figures reduced to bare minimum with a single pop of colour, Gilberti depicts Kusama captivating journey from Japan to America and back. Written in first person, he weaves in Kusama’s passion and love for drawing and her dream of becoming a famous artist to being one.

Illustration by Fausto Gilberti

Like its predecessors, the book relays the importance of daring to be different, a thought he wants young children to hold on to. Yayoi’s childhood experiences have influenced most of her work. In the book she recalls an incident of how, when she was a little girl, she was in a field of flowers and she had a hallucination where the flowers started talking to her. She felt like she was disappearing or as she calls it ‘self – obliterating’ into the field of endless dots. Often referred to as the ‘Princess of Polka Dots’, Yoyoi is famous for her love for pumkins and her different types of art- paintings, sculptures, perfromances and installations, all of them with one thing is common, DOTS. 

Kusama’s work is far-reaching and immersive yet intimate. From being alone and poor, to dealing with mental issues and covering her paintings and herself in a million dots, Gilberti in his latest brings to life Kusama’s self transformation and persistence in the simplest way possible. A lesson we can all take some inspiration from. 

Dots are everywhere and all around us. Like the blinking traffic lights down the road which tell us when it is safe to pass through or the ones in the drawing books you had as kid, where you join the dots to create something, like a pumpkin maybe? And of course, the ones that we love to wear- the polka blouses and dresses or Damien Hirst’s most iconic –Spot paintings. 

Dots are a part of our lives. They might be just circles, with no end and no beginning and but we love running in circles and whilst we are running we might as well as add some colour to it.