Chinatsu Ban’s beautifully crafted work features elephants and human figures floating against Japanese washi paper backgrounds or in front of candy-colored stripes. Rendered delicately and with a childlike touch, Ban’s endearing characters are frequently shown wearing underpants or tights, or stranger still, sprouting cactus plants from their heads.
Asked why she chooses elephants and underwear, the answer lies in the comfort they provide. “These things are like talismans. It’s scary to imagine that someday I won’t exist in this world anymore. I am troubled by the urge to run away from this fear. Elephants make me feel safe. They have saved me many times,” says Ban.
Chinatsu Ban participated in Little Boy at the Japan Society in New York, and as an accompanying project with the Public Art Fund, exhibited giant yellow elephant sculptures in New York City’s Dorris C. Freedman Plaza. The giant parent and child, followed by a technicolor turd, entertained visitors to nearby Central Park. In February 2005 she had her first solo show in the U.S. at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York.