Piece of Hope is the second animation I have featured by Japanese born though, since 1995, California based artist and animator, Mari Inukai. Her graduation work, Piece of Hope was produced in 2004 for the singer Noñameko. A rather mournful track is given focus by the cascade of drawings and illustrations all tastefully drawn. Given my English reserve, I'm not normally one for this heart-felt sentiment to be truthful ("I hear the scream from deep inside my heart...") and the music is not necessarily to my taste (a failing, I accept) though the images of characters being wafted into the air on an umbrella, flowers sprouting up all over, happy families, mother and daughter (à la Blue and Orange) and the like are very much appreciated. Indeed the charm of the animation is as much about being allowed access to a very talented painter's sketchbook as anything. The movie was featured in the CalArts showcase of 2004. Mari is a truly superb artist. In December she had a Solo Exhibition of her work of which the illustration below is merely one feature. Before you leave Mari's site do take a little look at what she terms "Channel Bumpers" for Nickelodeon; I'd describe them as short Flash animations between programmes to promote the channel in an entertaining way. They are very good - birds dropping yesterday's bugs or berries on heads and plants turning into triffids. It's a variation on her more serious animation and shows versatility. Mari is so good I'm seriously considering purchasing one of her paintings available via her blog. I showed her work to my class today and they appreciated both styles of animation, thought "Blue and Orange" brilliant and lapped up the shorter animations. No English reserve at all!