Another TEMPO installation, 1800 Lucky Cats was installed in front of the Austin Animal Center through this past weekend. The 1800 ceramic figurines represent only one-tenth of the 18,000 animals that are processed in the shelter annually. This work was created by artist Teruko Numura as a way to highlight the shelter’s no-kill policy and to raise awareness of the very active adoption programs. This work is based on the Maneki-neko, or Beckoning Cat, a common figurine in Japanese culture indicating good luck and prosperity, especially for businesses.
Numura frequently references images and symbols from her Japanese heritage. For this piece, her recently deceased aunt was the inspiration. The artist is quoted in the Daily Texan: “My auntie that just passed away a couple of years ago was a real connection to my culture,” Nimura said. “She had [cats] that were about half of an inch [tall], all the way up to these giant ones. They were these sort of talismans for her, but when I see them anywhere I [connect] these symbols to her and to the rest of my family and my own culture.”
The arrangement of the cats in a Fibonacci sequence adds another layer of the spiritual. The series in architecture represents a deep spiritual connection as the ratio is found over and over again in natural forms and is the basis for the aesthetically pleasing proportions of the Golden Section. Anyone adopting a cat during the East Austin Studio Tour was given one of the cats as a token of appreciation and in recognition of support for these deserving pets.