April 2021 Culture Care Newsletter

  • Posted: April 26, 2021

We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A Note From International Arts Movement

It’s supposed to hit ninety degrees here in Virginia on Wednesday, and while I am not looking forward to the relentless heat and humidity of a Washington, D.C. summer, I am certainly looking forward to the first truly WARM day of the year. Having now received the first dose of my vaccine, I feel like there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel. Friends are making plans. Weddings are being scheduled. People have a bounce in their step. 

Last year at this time, I was home in Pittsburgh with my parents, unsure of my next steps, watching the news nearly every day with trepidation and fear. While those days and months will certainly go down in the history books, I don’t miss the constant sense of anxiety that was ever-present, clouding ordinary moments. This spring feels different. Not just because of the vaccine and the hope that it brings for so many people, but because of the renewed appreciation so many of us have for one another. 

COVID was drew a line in the sand for so many people, cutting them off from their families and friends and communities in a way that they had never experienced before. We stopped hugging. Handshakes fell to the wayside. Idle conversation was avoided in favor of sidestepping our neighbors. Until the pandemic, most of us took the ordinary interactions of our everyday lives for granted. Now, this spring, amidst the new blooms and the tiny leaves on trees, we find ourselves re-entering society. Learning how to socialize again. 

So, this spring, as we take in the greenery and the flowers and the warm temperatures, I hope you’ll join me in taking in the beauty of community. We lost it for a while, but it’s back now. We have yet another chance to choose to care for our community in unique ways, to sow seeds of hope and redemption, rather than discord and brokenness. We talk about caring for culture through art a lot on in our work at IAM, but we often forget that each of us can care for our community in similar ways. Art is not merely confined to walls of your local museum or gallery, it’s out in the open, peeking out of the souls of our neighbors. We just have to look for it.

A Note From Makoto Fujimura, Founder of IAM Culture Care

Emily Dickinson writes of a May-Flower”:

Pink, small, and punctual,

Aromatic, low,

Covert in April,

Candid in May,

This May, I am excited to announce a small exhibit at a lovely local Princeton gallery, Morpeth Contemporary and the title of the exhibit will take the verse of this Emily Dickinson poem Candid in May.”

In a time when all of us had to self sequester and be covert”, it’s beneficial to consider ourselves as convert in April/ Candid in May.” The winter” of the Pandemic has been severe and traumatic. And we can be candid about our difficult journeys, but also open up, like a tulip, to also reveal the beauty that often comes out, despite our traumas and challenges. 

Here at Fuji Farm, a small farmland I have inherited in my own trauma from 911 and the subsequent darker journeys to follow, the bluebirds have started to nest battling their territorial rights against their neighbors, the tree swallow family, all of whom faithfully visits us every April. My bride Haejin and I have started to dream of how both of our Kintsugi” marriage can begin to co-create into the New, and dedicate our land as our fishes and loaves” to end human trafficking in our lifetimes, dedicating the rest of our lives to create Beauty and bring Justice into the world. Both IAMCultureCare and Kintsugi Academy (which Haejin leads now) will be part of these dreams. 

So it’s fitting to exhibit in a local gallery that I have known for many years and entrusted to them framing works. These are developing ecosystems toward Culture Care, andI hope you will be able to share with us reports of what you are experiencing to grow your Culture Care ecosystem in your areas. 

Portion of this exhibit will benefit Embers International (here’s their beautiful annual report), an organization cofounded by Haejin dedicated ending human trafficking scourge in our lifetime. 

Even if you cannot physically see the exhibit, I will be posting the works on Instagram and YouTube, as we morph into the new normal” of doing exhibits today which no longer depends on geography or location to make them possible. Content creators now have much more leverage and we are less dependent on galleries or institutions to make what we do viable, which is a good news in the post Pandemic new normal”. 

Blessings upon our Candid May”!

Mako

Web Links

  • Speaking of New Newness”, a follow up to last month’s IACultureCare essay on cryptocurrency on Yale Press Blog.
  • Mako’s collaboration with Susie Ibarra Walking on Water” will be out as a vinyl and official album via Innova Records! Order your copy here.
  • Register for this upcoming webinar, a collaboration between Wake Forest and Veritas Forum, on the role of the arts in a post-pandemic society.
  • How artists are responding to George Floyd’s death.
  • We are called to care for creation… but how do we do that well?
  • Dr. Kariko’s remarkable story of persistence.

Header image: A makeshift memorial and mural outside Cup Foods, where George Floyd died on Sunday, May 31, 2020 (photo by Laurie Shaull)