A descendant of a Japanese Samurai sword maker, Ms. Ando is a much sought after metal sculptor whose most recent piece was recently unveiled at St. John’s Bread & Life in Bedford Stuyvesant, the largest provider of emergency food services in New York City. Ando’s grid of 144 steel canvas squares work together to compose a visual symbol of hope. The piece, titled Fiat Lux, which translates to “Let There Be Light,” is the focal point in the center’s nondenominational meditation room. It supports Bread & Life’s vision of giving strength and serenity to those who are battling an array of problems, including hunger, poverty, and related stress.
“With this piece, I wanted to create something spiritual but non-denominational so that it would speak to all the guests who visited the soup kitchen,” said Ms. Ando. “The piece provides a meditative environment to encourage introspection.”
Ms. Ando was raised in two distinct cultures, a Buddhist temple in Japan, where she was cared for by swordsmiths turned Buddhist priests, and a mountainous region of Northern California. For more than a decade, she has created artwork on steel canvases utilizing traditional metalworking techniques such as grinding, sanding and the application of heat, along with acids, solvents and metal-based pigments to create various textures. Her background and spiritual upbringing infuse her artwork, which create quiet, abstract, meditative environments.