Photo credit: Michael Hnatov
Accession Number: C.2019.129.1
Dimensions: 76 in X 108 in
Dimensions (Metric): 193.04 cm X 274.32 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Alan, Mikenzie, Candice and Dean Ginsberg in memory of those lives lost on 9/11
Stars of the Forest: Elegy for 9/11
Acrylic-on-canvas painting titled Stars of the Forest: Elegy for 9/11 by Naoto Nakagawa. The painting depicts star-shaped moss on a forest floor in vibrant colors of blue, yellow, orange, and red. The piece is evocative of the American flag.
Many artists saw their work transform in the wake of 9/11. For Naoto Nakagawa, his piece Stars of the Forest—started in early September—began as an observation of star-shaped moss on a forest floor reflected in the Hudson River. In an interview, he stated that the moss was "shining in the morning dew, the sunlight glinting and giving it vivid colors, like blue nesting in yellow, orange, and flaming red."
After 9/11, Nakagawa realized that his vision for the painting had been changed by the tragedy. On the canvas, he saw that the star-shaped moss arranged in horizontal bands of color now evoked the American flag. Rather than sunlight, the light permeating the surface now represented those who had been killed on 9/11, expressed as shining stars.