Laura Kina, a Chicago-based painter, created the series Holding On during her tenure as a Summer 2019 Joan Mitchell Artist-in-Residence. Each of the paintings features sacred, WWII memorial, and present-day military occupied sites in Okinawa, Japan, and explores memory and affect through the genre of landscape painting. Laura found inspiration to create this series about her ancestral homeland after observing the prop roots from banyan trees in Okinawa. These roots keep holding on, regenerating and finding new routes to persist and reclaim the land around them. The works are also inspired by mythology of Kijumuna wood spirits and other Okinawan indigenous beliefs of spirit guardians of the land and sea.