Yayoi Kusama (1929– ) is a Japanese painter, sculptor and installation artist who is often referred to as “the princess of the polka dots” due to her obsession with spots. She was born in Matsumoto in Japan into a strict, traditional family. Kusama began painting at around the age of 10, after she repeatedly experienced a hallucination involving a field of dots. Her mother disapproved of her daughter’s artistic interests wanting her to marry and become a housewife. Kusama has recounted how her mother would throw away her inks and paints. She moved to Kyoto to study Nihonga painting in 1948 but felt cramped by this traditional style and began developing a more avant-garde style of her own which led to her first solo exhibition in Japan in 1952.
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