Friendship Knot

Background information

1972, by Shinkichi Tajiri. 18'4"h x 4'-5'w x 1'-1'6"d.
Knots have been a design element in Tajiri's sculpture since the 1960s. The simple knot in this work evolved from the large intricate ones found in his earlier compositions. Originally this piece was located at Tajiri's home in the Netherlands and titled Square Knot. When it was shipped to Los Angeles, its name was changed to the Friendship Knot by the Friends of Little Tokyo Arts to transform the sculpture into a symbol of "unity between two cultures". Tajiri, in consultation with representatives of the Friends of Little Tokyo Arts, the Community Redevelopment Agency and the architect for Weller Court, Kajima Associates, selected the Second Street entrance of Weller Court as the site for his work. Here, the stark white color of its fiberglass surface boldly contrasts with the muted beige veneer of the surrounding architecture, making Friendship Knot both a focal point for Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street and a welcoming symbol to Weller Court.

The developer of Weller Court, the East West Development Corporation, fulfilled its percent-for-art requirement by contributing $40,000 toward the purchase of the sculpture while the remaining $35,000 was raised by FOLTA. Dedicated on August 5, 1981, as a memorial to Dr. Morinorsuke Kajima, the founder of the Kajima Corporation, the work was donated to the City of Los Angeles by FOLTA as a gift for the City's bicentennial.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, October 1997.

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