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Chuzo Tamotzu, Problem, c.1939-1940

A furry animal with a long tail sits on a table by the window. Outside the window are the buildings of New York City and automobiles driving down the street. The animal appears to be in an indoor setting. Upon closer inspection, one can see that the bundle of paper placed randomly under the animal’s feet shows a sword and gun, symbolizing battle, and the other paper shows a sickle and hammer, symbols of labor and unity, also used in the Communist mark.

Just before the opening of this exhibition, in December 1939, the Soviets invaded Finland and the Second World War began. Thus, this work could be considered a protest against the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe.