Yasuaki Igarashi’s Sora-Ami: Knitting the Sky

“Knitting nets is universal. If one can knit a net, one can cross the ocean and connect with people. Knitting nets is part of human wisdom. If one can knit a net, one can transcend time and connect with people of the past and future.” – Yausaki Igarashi


A giant colourful fishing net rose up from Whairepo Lagoon on the Wellington Waterfront, near the Wharewaka, while a second  called out to it across the water from Frank Kitts Park.

UBD - Shared lines Colour - low res - Ebony Lamb 10.17-18

The nets are a public artwork Sora-Ami (Knitting the Sky) made by Japanese artist Yasuaki Igarashi in collaboration with communities from around Eastern Japan in the three years following the Shiogama earthquake and tsunami in 2011. They are part of Shared Lines: Wellington, a special programme of discussions and exhibitions in Wellington on 17-21 October that open out discussion about the role artists and urban design plays in earthquake resilience and community building post-earthquakes. As earthquake prone cities, Christchurch, Wellington, and Sendai, Japan share common ground through recent experience. The programme brings artists and others together from these cities.

The origin of
Sora-Ami (Knitting the Sky) is a voyage made by the artist after the Eastern Japanese Earthquake and an encounter with a fisherman living on Miyakejima – a volcanic island in the Pacific south of Tokyo that erupts about once every 20 years. Here the artist learned how to knit fishing nets. Since the encounter in June 2011, Yasuaki has brought people together “to knit” in nine different locations throughout Japan, from the temporary housing facilities in disaster-stricken areas like Kamaishi City of Iwate Prefecture and the Urato Islands of Shiogama City in Prefecture Miyagi to Asakura Jinja in Tokyo – the Shinto Shrine whose shrine crest is a net.

The installation of the work at the Wellington Waterfront Lagoon acknowledges the importance of this area to mana whenua Maori, as a place of fishing and connection. The official launch of Sora-Ami (Knitting the Sky) is 10am Wednesday 18 October outside Te Wharewaka o Poneke. The installation will be up for one week only.

The Wellington installation of Sora-Ami (Knitting the Sky) is hoped to be the first of three installations as the nets journey to the South Island to be displayed in Christchurch and Kaikoura in a gesture that connects people from these different islands and helps to share experience and ideas.

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Sora-Ami (Knitting the Sky) is proudly supported by Willis Bond & Co and the Mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester along with our other incredible funders and sponsors: Creative New Zealand, Wellington City Council, Urban Dream Brokerage, Pacific Studio Architecture, Canyon Creative, Kinetic Digital, Brancott Estate and The Occasional Brewer. Shared Lines: Wellington is being umbrellaed by the Wellington Independent Arts Trust.

Sora-Ami Install  Goldfish Creative, Dean Edgington and Shane Norrie.