1998 | Workshop with Children at the Philadelphia Children's Hospital


IMAGINE – HERE AND THERE

keiko at work

Years ago, before technological innovations in toys and playthings, children could use their imaginations to transform a mere stick into a magic wand. Children are ingenious at using their imaginations. These days, heavily commercialized toys and playthings seem to force manufactured images into their minds. Exposure of children to artwork can imbue them with a sense of possibility, as well as reveal to them the incredible nature of existence. This project was designed to enhance, nurture and reinforce the powerful imaginations of children.

Keiko Miyamori, a visiting scholar at the Graduate School of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, designed this project with her own hospital and art experience in mind. During her extended stay in a hospital, she would lie there and imagine the outside world. She wished that there were some way to bring it into the hospital with her. Since becoming an artist and after an experience working with an American art therapist, Keiko was inspired to undertake this project at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, while on a grant from the Japanese Ministry of Culture.



The technique Keiko chose was to use traditional Japanese washi or rice paper and a frottage or etching/rubbing technique, because the children were ill and often lacked physical strength. First the children would draw a line on a piece of rice paper, which would be separated along the line. On one half, the children would choose a surface from an object in their room – a tube, cafeteria tray, fluid monitor, etc. – would cover it with rice paper, then color the paper with charcoal or crayon. Then the children would tell Keiko about a place where they would like to go if they were out of the hospital. Keiko would then bring the rubbing to that chosen place, would take a photo of the child's work there, and would then do a rubbing of an object from that place. These two rubbings would then be joined together to make a whole. In this way, Keiko helped each child join the outside world they imagined with the inside world they were forced to endure.



Taeyana Kamir, a student of photography and administrator at the University of Pennsylvania, worked with Keiko to document this project. In addition, Keiko and Taeyana felt that a photograph of themselves working on this project would remind them of the importance of using their imagination once they left the hospital and the project was completed.

Thank you to Laura Black, CHOP, the children and their parents for making this project and exhibition possible.