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The Kid Should See This

How did Yayoi Kusama become an artist?

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Born in 1929, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is known as the princess of polka dots… and perhaps pumpkins, too. Her spot-filled art can be chaotic collaborative illustrations and sparkling spaces that reflect the vastness of space. Her art has even been swept out to sea by a hurricane.

But as this Tate Kids animation explains, the dots represent much more than a simple shape.


“By adding all-over marks and dots to her paintings, drawings, objects and clothes she feels as if she is making them (and herself) melt into, and become part of, the bigger universe. She said:

“‘Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment’.”

parental opinions in the flowers
Learn how Yayoi Kusama became an artist with this short by Sheetal Thankey and Natasha Pollack for Tate Kids.

Plus, previously from the Tate on TKSST:
• How did Yinka Shonibare become an artist?
• How did Paula Rego decide to become an artist?
• How did Etel Adnan decide to become an artist?
How did Cedric Morris become an artist?
• What is Cubism? This Tate Kids animation explains.

Bonus: Spots Spots by Yuanyuan Hu.

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