No matter how many times I experience a museum of art, in today’s case, The Mint in Charlotte, I find a whole new range of sensory response.


The permanent exhibits speak differently as if to say, “I’ll bet you didn’t catch this before…” This hue, this movement, this texture.

The uptown jaunt was to witness the early exhibit construction by artist, Motoi Yamamoto. The exhibit is one of his “Returned to Sea” projects. His medium is salt. Just salt. Motoi works with surgical precision and a painter’s flow to produce an evocotive floor of beauty.

Return to Sea, Motoi Yamamoto
Return to Sea, Motoi Yamamoto

We stood silently watching as he sat quietly on a mat and delicately and rhythmically moved as salt flowed from a plastic funnel, like those used by bakers applying icing to a wedding cake. The room was silent but for the sound of grains as they spilled onto the surface. Motoi would turn his head here and there and move his mat back a few inches, adjust his position and pour over the next waiting area. The organic beauty and the silence and the craftsmanship in the moment were enough to fill a day. Once, just for a moment, he looked up and offered a smile and got one in return. Mutual gratitude.

Then, strolling through from room to room, the voices spoke from the canvas, the metal, the wood, the glass, the clay, the fabric, and all other manner of vessel for expression. They did what they do. Some whispered. Other pieces screamed out as if an anxious child demanding attention. Others, still, as if coyly inviting my interpretation. Peace.

Exiting the place of art brought an entirely new and unexpected joy. Snow. It fell from the sky in waves and quickly covered the cars and the benches and the streets of uptown. It blanketed the floor outside. It’s product equally beautiful and strikingly similar to the salt covering the floor only a few feet away inside.

The drive home was quiet and appreciative. Taking in the art of this soulful man from Ishikawa and the art of nature as she poured onto her canvas.

It was a good day.

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