Review: Kusama – The Graphic Novel by Elisa Macellari

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography, Contemporary Art,  Graphic Novel, Sequential Art
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Pages: 128
Publication Date: 15 September, 2020
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 bookmarks


From rural Japan to international icon – Yayoi Kusama has spent her remarkable life immersed in her art.

Follow her incredible journey in this vivid graphic biography which details her bold departure from Japan as a young artist, her embrace of the buzzing New York art scene in the 1960s, and her eventual return home and rise to twenty-first-century super-fame.

My Review:

Kusama: The Graphic Novel by Elisa Macellari is a biography on the well known Avant-garde sculptor, painter and novelist – Yayoi Kusama. So it makes sense that it’s a graphical biography. I’ll admit at this point that I wasn’t aware of who Yayoi Kusama is before reading this novel.

Elisa Macellari through this book has fan-girled and showcased her love for the artist. The story of Yayoi’s life has been beautifully illustrated and told in the simplest of ways. For those who like me are unaware of who Yayoi Kusama is, let’s talk a little about the subject of this book.

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist, sometimes referred to as ‘the princess of polka dots’. She moved from Japan to America in 1957. Although she makes all sorts of art – paintings, sculptures, performances and installations – they all have one thing in common: DOTS!

“My desire was to predict and measure the infinity of the unbounded universe, from my own position in it, with dots.”

The novel beautifully illustrated the major events in her life which led her to where she is today. From a girl whose own mother would tear up her art work, to dealing with hallucinations (which led to her using only polka dots) throughout her life and other severe mental disorders too, Yayoi Kusama is an inspiration to many! She is bold, she is fearless and she is talented as hell.\”]]],[1,\”p\”,[[0,[],0,\”

I’ve always known that polka dots were a huge thing during the 70s but how did they become so popular and how did thousands of circles put together become such a huge thing? I found out through this story and I have been in complete awe of the entire concept since.

I rate this novel 3.5 out of 5 bookmarks. The illustrations were brilliant, a perfect ode to the illustrator’s inspiration. The story telling flowed smoothly. This book is fabulous not because of how IT is, rather it’s fabulous because it’ll make you fall in love and be in awe of Yayoi Kusama too! But I also felt like it lacked some major descriptions about the subject too, one example is her take on pumpkins which is a major inspiration to some of her art pieces.

But I still highly recommend giving this graphic novel a read, it’ll hardly take you more than one sitting and will leave you mesmerized by Kusama’s journey to fame and excellence.

“No pain could ever discourage me. It’s how I was born and how I have lived; it’s how I’ll continue to live.”

I’d like to thank Netgalley and Laurence King Publishing for providing me with a copy in lieu of an honest review. I’d also like to congratulate and thank the author – Elisa Macalleri for introducing me to Kusama’s art and her journey!

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