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Mebae Sasaki. Born in 1996 in Hokkaido, Japan. Graduated from Chiba University, faculty of education, course of special education. Painter of mental landscapes. Writer. Adventurer. Traveling with "questions" in mind, she expresses the answers and mental landscapes in paintings, writings, books, and sometimes in photographs and videos. In the U.S., while working with autistic children, she had the feeling that "all are one life," which inspired her to begin full-scale production under the theme of "Forest of Life. During the two years and seven months of the pandemic, she traveled to eight countries in Europe, Central America, and Southeast Asia, doing fieldwork in the style of renting a house in the area and staying there for a few months.

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This is the first book of a collection of paintings and poems documenting a five-year journey and philosophy (my own questions and answers) from 2016 to 2021. In this book, "Puzzle of Life," I write the message that "each individual is one piece of a big puzzle designed" and "a series of each seemingly coincidental event that we experience throughout our lives is one piece of our own life that happens under the principles of nature," along with my paintings. Through this book, I would be happy if I could share with you the encounters and lessons I have learned on my travels.

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Click here for past paintings, including oil and acrylic paintings, and video works accompanying the paintings.

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The exhibition was held in Japan for two months from October to November 2020, which led to the "Forest of Life" traveling exhibition at a total of seven facilities in Hokkaido until September 2021, and the same exhibition was held in Mexico in July of the same year.

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What is life? Through my work, I have expanded the definition of life from "visible individuals" to "invisible linkages that connect individuals." I believe that the "universe," which is the sum total of all life, including all living things and the earth's environment, is a single living organism. This idea gave birth to the "Forest of Life" worldview.

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In this blog, I share my diary, my feelings through my travels, and the scenery and mental images of my travels in text and photographs.

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What is life?
Inside the human brain are synapses that connect our neurons together, and from this mechanism we have intelligence. In the forest, fungus living under the ground also act as synapses by linking trees together so that the entire forest can be considered a single living organism, and that the diversity of tree species strengthens this underground network, and so enhances the vitality of the forest. The uniqueness and individuality given to each tree is essential to the vitality of the forest as a whole, trees are not just individuals, but also part of a greater organism, the forest itself. This principle is not limited to forests, but works for all creatures, including us. For this reason, I believe the forest is a place that symbolizes the Principles of nature.

If we extend these principles that occur in the forest, and think of nature itself as a single living organism, then we are all as cells living within this great "life of nature", and from this perspective, the differences between, and uniqueness of, individuals are essential to sustaining life. Above ground, flowers use the mediators of nature such as bees and the wind, to exchange and to communicate. This extends also to insects, birds, fish … and is called swarm intelligence.

I believe that we humans also have this "swarm intelligence", and so while individually we might think that we have inadequacies, flaws that might be considered weaknesses and deficiencies, we must remember that just as a puzzle is formed from different pieces, so too is the puzzle of life, and so what we might consider a weakness may actually be a necessity for this swarm intelligence to function.

As a natural system, we can think of our society as a forest, with each of us as a tree within the forest. However, since the advent of computers, a social system based on a mathematical model called game theory, in which we are individuals without community, has penetrated deep into our lives. We now have 2 opposing systems, the individual who is motivated only by self-interest and the community based model of nature. Game theory, we were told, can bring a stable society. But this can only be true if we are each selfish individuals, and we see our neighbors as competitors and threats. The results, as we see 40 years later, are dysfunctional societies, now facing poverty, famine and war. I believe this experiment has been a catastrophe and humanity needs to return to a natural system.

I believe that our existence is not limited to the visible, but is a multi-layered structure consisting of body, mind, and consciousness. And I believe that our consciousness, like the trees of the forest, also has roots, and that what ties these roots together are the laws of nature through this swarm intelligence. This is how societies are formed.

However, game theory severs the connections between people, and the more we immerse ourselves in such a system, the more the roots of our consciousness are cut away. This does not just mean that the bonds of human society are broken, but that we lose a part of ourselves that used to live as a multilayered structure. Just as a cell detached from its body cannot survive for long, an individual who has lost the wholeness of life cannot survive for long either.

Because of this, since 2019 I began creating paintings and videos to try and express the sense that all life is connected. I call this series of works "Forest of Life", they show my desire to see a world around which life is centered.