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Finding Yurika

By Ebony Harding

Intro | America | Imagination

”I have to heal myself,” states Japanese painter Yurika Hirai. While some people meditate or do yoga to relax themselves from the stress of everyday life, Yurika finds solace in painting. Her art also helps her to pay bills and survive in a society that has forgotten the importance of art in culture. She manages to do all of this while, at the same time, grasping the English language.

All work and no play
Yurika Hirai is a petite, twenty-eight year old woman with a friendly face and curly black hair who lives in a small one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia. Her apartment is void of color, except for the large-scale painting of a mirrored image of the bodies of two pregnant women. Her living room has become her bedroom and her bedroom now serves as a studio where she works as much as two to three times a week to produce another painting. Between her job and painting for herself, Yurika has little time to play.

When asked, what she does in her spare time when she is not painting, she excitedly replies, “Relax!”

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