There’s a protocol for protecting Naoshima’s prized yellow pumpkin in the face of wild weather: about a dozen people get dispatched to pick it up and transport it safely to shelter until the storm blows over. But yesterday’s Typhoon No 9 caught the island by surprise, leaving no time to collect Yayoi Kusama’s iconic sculpture before it got washed away by the sea.
The site-specific artwork was installed at the pier in 1994 and has sat on the water’s edge, welcoming visitors to Shikoku’s ‘art island’ of Naoshima ever since. But on Monday, onlookers watched in dismay as the famous pumpkin rolled around in the rough waters, ending up with sizeable cracks down its sides.
Though it suffered considerable damage in the typhoon, the sculpture was eventually rescued from the waters of the Seto Inland Sea by staff and has been stored in a safe place. Hopefully, it will be repaired soon so that it can be returned to its usual spot on the pier.
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