“Long ago in the Land of Morning, which is known today as Japan, a beautiful cherry tree grew. Each spring, lilting pink blossoms danced into view and filled the air like popcorn. And as the flowers fell in a snowy cloud, children joined hands and sang and skipped around the tree.”

― Joy Kogawa, Naomi’s Tree

About the Kogawa Tree Artists Call

Joy Kogawa by Samuel Engelking

A gust of January wind took down a branch of our beloved Kogawa cherry tree this year.

This special tree is the main focus of Joy Kogawa’s children’s book, Naomi’s Tree, in which it became a symbol of her desire to return home after the Japanese Canadian Internment. We couldn’t have this incident remembered as a sad story because there have been enough of those, so we made it a call for wood artists instead.

Over the next few months, we will publish profiles of the artisans currently working with wood of the downed branch. Stay tuned for a show-and-tell of completed pieces later this summer!

Artist Profiles

Kjerstin Mackie, Wood Artist

Dick Griffin

Dick Griffin woodcarver, neighbour, and retired teacher and social worker has lived with his wife, Barbara, and their family across the lane from Historic Joy Kogawa House for more than 30 years. From his backyard, Dick can see the Kogawa cherry tree and enjoy its beautiful white blossoms every spring.

Kjerstin Mackie, Wood Artist

Eileen Kiyonaga

Eileen Kiyonaga is a multidisciplinary artist who lives in Squamish but resided in Marpole when she and her husband, Devin, first moved to Vancouver. She loves seeing the cherry trees blossom every spring and in school learned about the Japanese cultural practice of hanami and the cherry tree festival.

Kjerstin Mackie, Wood Artist

Kjerstin Mackie

Retired textile conservator at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, Kjerstin Mackie makes the most amazing wooden dolls. Most often these dolls are inspired by Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, a children’s novel by Rachel Field that won the 1930 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature.

Discover More About Historic Joy Kogawa House

Read about our Current Writer-in-Residence or take a look at our Past Writers.

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