by Marina Murayama Nir

Fragments and Residue are the first two tracks of my upcoming album and magazine, Unfurl. The goal of the project is to explore what matriarchy means in my family, and to examine the nuances of being a first-generation person.

The image that represents my album is of an ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) piece my grandmother in Okinawa created about a year ago. I recently learned that both of my grandmothers are very much visual artists. I wonder a lot about the lens through which they view the world, and how much I get to share their vision.

At the moment, I am sharing the two recordings while they are a work in progress. The end goal is to bring my musician friends who I don’t get to share day-to-day experiences with anymore into the project, in collaboration. I think for me, a big part of matriarchy is in honoring relationships that I have with people I care for.

When I asked my mom to ask my grandma Miyoko if it was okay for me to use her ikebana picture for my album, my grandma responded, “Yes, I am happy.”


Navigate through sacrifice
Deep-seated in veins and time
Roots torn, but duty shows
What belonged to you, is also mine now

Tired hands and aching bones,
Inheritance, armor worn.
Daughters know what they’re holding-
Centuries, stained in motion

Mother tongue lost in childhood
Only left with residue
Honored needs
Lost and given out to
Hungry mouths, and Matriarchy’s virtue

Marina Murayama Nir is an editor at Culturework.