Kagawa: Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture back on Naoshima island

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People take a picture with the restored “Pumpkin” (©YAYOI KUSAMA) on Naoshima island in Kagawa Prefecture.

Sitting on the dock of the bay is what looks like a giant yellow pumpkin. Even if it were edible, there would be people standing next to it for photos, but this is the work of the renowned Yayoi Kusama, so visitors flock to this site to pose next to the outdoor sculpture.

The 2-meter-tall “Pumpkin” with its iconic black polka dots has been the symbol of the Benesse Art Site Naoshima in Kagawa Prefecture since it was first displayed there in 1994. In August last year, however, waves from a typhoon loosened the metal clasps holding down the 2.5-meter-diameter sculpture and it was ultimately found in the Seto Inland Sea, broken into three pieces.

Kusama supervised the creation of a new “Pumpkin” after Okayama-based Benesse Holdings, Inc., which runs the art site and owns the sculpture, made the decision to do so.

The 2022 version of “Pumpkin” was unveiled Tuesday at the same spot on Naoshima Island that the original had resided in this destination for contemporary art lovers.

The new “Pumpkin” is designed the same as the original and made of fiber-reinforced plastic as well, though it is thicker to improve its durability.

“I hope people will like it as a symbol of the island,” said a Benesse Holdings official, “even if it’s a reborn version.”