Yayoi Kusama
Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto © Yayoi Kusama 'Pumpkin' (2022)

The iconic Yayoi Kusama yellow pumpkin on Naoshima is back

The art island’s trademark yellow pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama is back on display after it was damaged in a typhoon last summer

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen

Naoshima, one of Japan’s art islands in the Seto Inland Sea, is full of unique installations by famous contemporary artists. Of all the projects on the island, however, no piece is quite as iconic as Yayoi Kusama’s bright yellow pumpkin sculpture, which has become something of a trademark of Naoshima ever since it was installed on one of its piers in 1994. 

Naoshima Pumpkin
Photo: Kirill/Unsplash

Until last summer, the cheery squash attracted a steady stream of visitors to the island, who flocked from far and wide to take snapshots of the 2m-tall sculpture. Then in August 2021, the pumpkin – made of fibreglass-reinforced plastic – was swept into sea by a powerful typhoon and suffered several cracks down its sides before islanders were able to retrieve it.

Though updates on plans to restore the artwork were few and far between since it was taken away for assessment, a replacement for the prized pumpkin was finally unveiled on the morning of October 4. This reconstruction of the original artwork has the same shape and appearance as its predecessor, but has a tougher structure to protect it from extreme weather conditions. 

Art lovers can now take a collective sigh of relief knowing that Japan’s most celebrated pumpkin is back in its rightful place. And with Japan set to fully reopen on October 11, and with one month left before the end of the Setouchi Triennale, this homecoming couldn’t have come at a better time. 

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