Yayoi Kusama Pens a Powerful Poem About the Pandemic

Pin It
Yayoi Kusama exhibition 2020 Gropius Bau
Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field, 1965© Yayoi Kusama, courtesy: Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro & David Zwirner

The Japanese artist sends a message of hope in this dark time

This article is published as part of our #CultureIsNotCancelled campaign:

This morning, unstoppable contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama has spoken out about the global pandemic in a typically lyrical fashion, offering a message of hope and unity via a powerful poem published on the gallery David Zwirner’s website. “Today, with the world facing Covid-19, I feel the necessity to address it with this message,” the artist says. In the poem, Kusama addresses difficulty, loss and the resilient spirit of humankind, stating that though “we find ourselves on the dark side of the world” there is hope for “a splendid future”. The artist also touches on the remarkable humanitarian work across the world in fighting the “terrible monster” of Covid-19, closing the poem with a poignant rally for unity. “Now is the time for people all over the world to stand up / My deep gratitude goes to all those who are already fighting,” she writes.

Kusama – who celebrated her 91st birthday in March – held her Every Day I Pray for Love exhibition at David Zwirner last year, which saw paintings, sculptures and new versions of her definitive and much-Instagrammed Infinity Mirror Rooms; in September of this year, a new retrospective is due to open at Berlin’s Gropius Bau. Though the gallery’s doors are closed for now, David Zwirner is providing plentiful cultural relief online. One digital initiative, Platform: New York, brings together the works of 12 New York-based galleries in a virtual space – “friends, neighbours, and peers” of David Zwirner – and elsewhere, the gallery is sharing its favourite book titles through a series of fascinating excerpts, and has also ramped up its podcast schedule. Head here to immerse yourself in all the virtual content the gallery has to offer, and enjoy Kusama’s uplifting words below. 


Though it glistens just out of reach, I continue to pray for hope to shine through
Its glimmer lighting our way
This long awaited great cosmic glow

Now that we find ourselves on the dark side of the world
The gods will be there to strengthen the hope we have spread throughout the universe

For those left behind, each person’s story and that of their loved ones
It is time to seek a hymn of love for our souls
In the midst of this historic menace, a brief burst of light points to the future
Let us joyfully sing this song of a splendid future
Let’s go

Embraced in deep love and the efforts of people all over the world
Now is the time to overcome, to bring peace
We gathered for love and I hope to fulfil that desire
The time has come to fight and overcome our unhappiness

To Covid-19 that stands in our way
I say Disappear from this earth
We shall fight
We shall fight this terrible monster

Now is the time for people all over the world to stand up
My deep gratitude goes to all those who are already fighting.

Revolutionist of the world by the Art
From Yayoi Kusama

To find out more about Yayoi Kusama’s recent work, head to David Zwirner’s website.