Yayoi Kusama (b.1929) is an avant-garde artist and novelist. She has created fantastical paintings using polka dots and nets as motifs since childhood. Kusama went to the United States in 1957, where she showed huge paintings, soft sculptures and environmental art employing mirrors and electric lights. In the latter 1960s, she organized many happenings and engaged in fashion designing as well as film production. Her original works and activities which made a big impact on the art world established her status as an avant-garde artist. Since her return to Japan in 1973, she has continued to show works both in Japan and abroad, and exhibited open-air sculptures in various parts of the world. Working energetically on new art pieces, she plays an active part in artistic activities, often traveling the world for exhibitions of her works.
Prizes and recognition received include Tokyo Honorable Citizenship (2017); the Order of Culture (2016); honorary citizenship of Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo (2012); became a member of American Academy of Arts & Letters 2012); selected as a Person of Cultural Merit (2009); Lifetime Achievement Prize (U.S.A.), the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, the Praemium Imperiale (2006); Arts et Lettre (Officier) from French Government, Nagano Prefectural Governor’s Commendations (for academic, artistic and cultural merit) (2003); The 50th Education Minister’s Art Encouragement Prize, Foreign Minister’s Commendation (2000) and The Tenth Literary Award for New Writers from the magazine Yasei Jidai (for the novel, The Hustlers Grotto of Christopher Street) (1980).