The last time I saw Laurie was when I signed up for an art tour at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum of Contemporary Art and Culture on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. The title of the exhibition was: “What Absence Is Made Of.” I found it very intriguing. However, I really signed up for this tour only because I knew that Laurie would be the docent and she would explain what absence looks like and how important absence is as an artistic expression. “Absence is far more than just nothing,” Laurie said as she welcomed us all in the Hirshhorn Museum, her museum. “Please, figure out for yourselves what each contemporary artist is communicating.”
In the afternoon of Sunday, June 24, 2018, over 300 friends got together to celebrate Laurie’s life and share our memories of her. Laurie Nakamoto has been one of our most loyal AAFSW Associate Members and she really enjoyed coming to our AAFSW programs. Laurie was a great hostess and a generous heart. Her real passion for life has always been integrating friends from many walks of life along with friends from many different cultures. Laurie’s talents were certainly in the arts: she played the piano since she was a child, she sang beautifully, she created and collected art. She had been a Peace Corps Volunteer and an Art Docent since she was thirty years old.
During her last presentation in Capital Speakers, in February 2018, to message her silent “goodbye” to her friends, Laurie chose to recite the poem “Ithaca” written by the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy (published in 1911): “As you set out for Ithaca, hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. … Keep Ithaca always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for. But do not hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you are old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you have gained on the way, … Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would not have set out.”
Laurie Nakamoto passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
The skies were wide open to receive her.
Laurie will be truly missed.
Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD