Pink – A Cherry Blossom Fantasy – by Liliane Blom


Artist statement

I was astounded the first spring I lived in Rockville to discover that the trees lining the street had the most amazing big, fluffy, dreamy pink blossoms. I am still amazed 25 years later. Still besotted.

I love not only the trees at their peak, with their masses of pink flowers which turn our streets into a pink fairy tale landscape worthy of Dr. Seuss; but am equally enthralled with the fallen petals which cover the sidewalk like a carpet and turn the gutters into rivers of pink. Cars are dusted in pink, blanketed in rose, becoming part of the landscape. The wind picks up the petals and dances with them down the street and when the weather has been just right when the spring showers have held off, little tornadoes of cherry blossoms will whirl down the road, joyful like children at play. It is so beautiful, it makes my heart sing, I want to dance, to roll in the pink pinkness of it all. I feel transported and imagine myself at a wonderful wedding feast, where thousands of guests have thrown petals on the happy couple.  I can hear the whispers of the crowd, the distant music, the ringing bells, the tinkling of bracelets as the guest lift their arms and throw more flowers, offering blessings for all and for the year to come. These celebrations are grand, exotic affairs happening mostly at dawn, when the first rays of the sun make the world glow, the blossoms seem lit by an inner fire and bird song provides the music track. On a rare occasion, there will be a light morning fog and the procession will be more subdued, quiet, pensive and solemn. It feels more like a pilgrimage. The trees become my cathedral, the pink sidewalks sacred ground.

I made the first rough sketch of this installation almost a decade ago and have since then been working towards its realization. I have been climbing trees early and late for the last three years to create the time-lapse for the video. I have photographed the blossoms from every angle in all weather and every time of day. But even before my first sketch, I had tried to find ways to hold on to this fleeting marvel. I photographed my daughter Sophie every year in the cherry blossoms starting at age 4 until she left for college. In 2005 the weather had been perfect, there were masses of fluffy blossoms on the ground and I tried to collect and dry them, I had laundry baskets filled with blossoms, but after six months they did not look so great, having turned gray and smelling like hay. So I decided to create them out of tissue paper, light as petals, and almost as delicate.  The yards of silk, the thinnest and most delicate I could find,  I dyed and turned into cascading rivers of blossoms.

This is my way to freeze time, to hold on the ephemeral, to share with you, my pink fantasy which comes around just once a year for a few brief days or weeks if we are lucky.

I invite you to meditate and find light and peace in the contemplation of the silk rivers; to dance in the petals, throw them in the air and become part of the fantasy. Life is brief just like a flower blooming, remember to enjoy it.