The 88 Buddha statuettes are a reference to the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.
They are made of slag that was illegally dumped on neighborhing Teshima Island, which is also part of their story.
From 1978 to 1990, Teshima Island was used as a dump site for paper making residue, sadly they were actually dumping highly toxic waste as well.
Due to a corrupt prefecture government and the fact that the island was remote and sparsely populated, it took until the year 2000 for the people of the island to receive a resolution. The Prefecture of Kagawa admitted that the now-defunct disposal firm Teshima Sogo Kanko Kaihatsu Company had run the illegal dumps and the prefecture was forced to clean the site. The process required that 500,000 tons of soil and rocks be dug out, and moved to nearby Naoshima where it is melted down, detoxified, and transformed into slag to be reused as aggregate in concrete.
Tsuyoshi Ozawa was born 1965 in Tokyo. As a student at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Ozawa began his “Jizo-ing” series in which he photographs statues of Jizo that he makes himself situated in different environments In 1993, he began his Nasubi Gallery series of portable, miniature galleries made from milk boxes, and his “Consultation Art.” In 1999, he produced his “Museum of Soy Sauce Art” remakes of masterpieces from Japanese art history painted with soy sauce, and in 2001, began his “Vegetable Weapon” series of photographic portraits of young women holding weapons made of vegetables. He had his first solo museum exhibition “Answer with Yes and No!” at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo in 2004, and among his solo exhibitions since is “The Invisible Runner Strides on” (2009) held at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art.