Cassini's Journey: Makiko Nakamura

9 - 31 May 2019
“I’ve been watching, reading and thinking about Cassini’s journey. It was just a space probe, but it was a beautiful existence…”
Makiko Nakamura.

In April 2017, after 13 years in orbit around Saturn and 20 years since it was launched, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft began its final journey. The ‘Grand Finale’  took place over the next five months, with 22 orbits through Saturn’s rings, and a dramatic final plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere; its total incineration ensuring that the planet’s pristine moons would remain uncontaminated. Embodying the same spirit of courage and sacrifice that resonates through humanities’ greatest stories, Cassini’s journey fascinated Makiko Nakamura. As she followed the images from Cassini as it made its final, solitary dance through the moons and rings of Saturn, she began to work on a new series of paintings. Her slow process begins by applying successive layers of paint, which are then removed over many months. To Nakamura the finished paintings revealed memories not only of the painting’s journey, but also mirrored the final memories of Cassini and its beautiful existence in space.