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November 2021 Culture Care Newsletter

  • Posted: November 22, 2021

Gratitude is, however, more than just an emotion. It is also a disposition that can be chosen and cultivated, an outlook toward life that manifests itself in actions — it is an ethic.” — Diana Butler Bass

A Note From International Arts Movement

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope wherever you are, you are anticipating turkey and pie and stuffing in the next few days. If you don’t have food to look forward to, I hope you at least have good friends or family in your future. 

I am in a bit of a transition season, as I prepare to start a new job in the next few weeks. Transitions always tend to include lots of reflection for me, particularly about habits and practices that I want to continue or do away with. I’ve never been someone who sets goals around the new year, instead, I tend to focus on seasonal goals. Whether they actually end up aligned with the seasons depends, but in this case, a new job is also coinciding with the beginning of winter. 

For the first few weeks, winter is magical. The first snow, the lead-up to Christmas, the holiday spirit… I love it all. I embrace it. I love bundling up and pulling on my boots and feeling the sting of the cold on my cheeks. Like clockwork though, Christmas comes and goes and my appetite for winter quickly wanes… along with the beauty of it all. I don’t appreciate the gray, slushy snow or the sub-zero temperatures or the way that it gets dark at 4:30.

My outlook when things are gray and dark usually tends to mirror that of the landscape — gray and dark. I tend to mope and feel sad that things aren’t brighter or shinier. I’m not particularly good at practicing contentment when things aren’t going the way I want them to. I don’t seek out beauty or look for the things that are going well. In transitions especially, I often focus on the things that are going wrong rather than the things that are going right. It’s easier to look at the elephants in the room than to notice the tiniest speck of possibility. 

I think it’s true for all of us that our lives would be richer and fuller if we practiced gratitude on a regular basis, not just when it conveniently aligns with the holiday season. In line with new jobs and new seasons and fresh snow, my own goal for these next few months is to notice the things in my life that bring me joy. I find that gratitude and joy often coincide with one another. They collide in a meaningful way that makes it nearly impossible to have one without the other. Culture care, for many of us, includes the practice of gratitude, even when there isn’t a turkey on the table. 

A Note From Makoto Fujimura, Founder of IAM Culture Care

Dear IAMers!

I am excited to announce the following exhibit, the second of a series of exhibits at High Line Nine Galleries in Hudson Yards, NYC. The board of IAM will meet in NYC to map out our future expansion and fundraising goals. Please let us know if you’d like to know the details of vision and expansion plans.

Here’s the Press Release which includes many Culture Care overlaps:

Re-sonance by Makoto Fujimura

High Line Nine Galleries, NYC, December 2, 2021 – December 30, 2021

In September 2021, Makoto Fujimura had an exhibit titled Re-membrance” at High Line Nine to commemorate the past 20 years since 911. Now, High Line Nine is excited to bring back Fujimura for his new exhibit Re-sonance,” which looks to the future. 

Hartmut Rosa, in his seminal work Resonance,” wrote, both laughing and crying are modes of experience and behavior that are capable of convincing us precisely of the soundness of our relationship to the world, as they bring us (although of course in two very different ways) into a resonant relationship to the world.”

Fujimura describes the new exhibit as follows: 

The monumental works Sea Beyond” (dedicated to the memory of my mother Yoko Sugai) and Christmas, 2020” (dedicated to my bride Haejin Shim Fujimura) explore resonance to honor the past and look beyond the vista, beholding our fractures at the same time. My father Osamu Fujimura — a renowned pure researcher in acoustics and phonetics field — taught me the intimate links between hearing and seeing, between scientific rigor and artistic inspiration. I paint by hearing sound, I hear what I see.

Sea Beyond” is a triptych spanning 33 feet, painted with a singular material, traditional Japanese white Gofun” made from oyster shells on raw Belgium linen. Christmas, 2020” (66”H x 89”W) was painted with white ruby and quartz on deep azure poured over canvas, exploring Fujimura’s journey with Embers International (an international justice and mercy organization) and using art as a gift to spark conversations of beauty and justice. These installations are designed to integrate relational aesthetics” framework to Fujimura’s contemplative works.

This exhibit will feature numerous events including Fujimura’s live painting performance with his longtime collaborator Susie Ibarra, and Young People’s Chorus of NYC and NADIA (National Arts Diversity Integration Association). 

Makoto Fujimura Live Painting

In Collaboration With Composer Percussionist Susie Ibarra

High Line Nine Galleries, NYC, December 12, 2021 at 3pm

Ticket $250 Limited Seating 30

In this rare event, Fujimura will be painting live, in collaboration with Composer, Percussionist, Sound Artist Susie Ibarra, in the midst of attendees at High Line Nine, four 40”H x 72”W canvases (total width 24 feet) laid out horizontally with red gesso/mineral mix that will remain as a part of the installation following the performance. This event will be filmed by Windrider Productions and broadcast live. The canvases generate a fantastic percussive sound when the paint mixture drips onto the surface, and its resonance with Ibarra’s percussive rhythm will be captivating. During the live painting, an immersive presentation will also be projected unto Sea Beyond,” creating additional entry points for the attendees. Re-sonance” booklets with Fujimura’s sketches will be made available, and Fumi‑e* used in Martin Scorsese’s film

Silence — for which Fujimura served as a special advisor — will be installed with the live painting. *Fumi‑e is the likeness of Jesus or Mary often cast in bronze, which was used by Japanese officials during the 17th and 18th century to bring believers to deny their Christian faith by stepping on the image of Jesus or Mary. Having been stepped on thousands of times, the original Fumi‑e created by artisan Yusa Hagiwara in 17th century is now worn smooth.

Los Angeles critic Peter Frank writes in his review, Makoto Fujimura: An Immanent Abstraction”:

For Fujimura the cultural and cognitive differences between Western and Eastern sensibility, differences he has lived with his entire life, require not resolution, but, rather, harmonization. And, in the orientation of the painter’s practice to the immaterial and the ethical, that harmonization comes as readily as belief itself. Fujimura’s art does not seek syncresis, but exemplifies it, cultivating automatically what might seem to us irresolvable cultural dissonance. That dissonance, in fact, is the crucible in which Fujimura forges his art. Indeed, it is not so much Fujimura’s art itself that exercises a kind of cross-platform meld, resting on diverse levels and sources of conscious practice; it is the conditions under – and from – which the art is made.

Makoto Fujimura is a leading contemporary artist whose process driven, refractive slow art” has been described by David Brooks of New York Times as a small rebellion against the quickening of time”. A Presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003 – 2009, Fujimura served as an international advocate for the arts, speaking with decision makers and advising governmental policies on the arts. Robert Kushner, in the mid 90’s, written on Fujimura’s art in Art in America this way: The idea of forging a new kind of art, about hope, healing, redemption, refuge, while maintaining visual sophistication and intellectual integrity is a growing movement, one which finds Makoto Fujimura’s work at the vanguard.” 

Susie Ibarra is a Filipinx composer, percussionist, and sound artist who creates live and immersive music that invites people to connect to their natural and built environments. Ibarra is passionate about supporting Indigenous music cultures and advocating for preserving glacier freshwater towers. Ibarra is a Nat Geo Explorer in Storytelling 2020, United States Artist Fellow in Music 2019 and a Senior TED Fellow. She is a Yamaha, Vic Firth and Zidjian Drum Artist.

Stephen Proctor is a visual artist who curates immersive experiences using projection & digital art. In recent years, he has specialized in landscape cinematography using drones, which has introduced a strong emphasis of natural beauty in his work. 

Guest Contributor: Ally Lima

Ally Lima is a student at Bucknell University, where she is studying English. She is also a Fujimura Fellow (in training!). Her reflections on justice, art, and culture will appear in the newsletter on a regular basis.

Kintsugi is defined as the Japanese art form of putting broken pottery pieces back together using gold. As a new Fujimura Fellow in Training at Bucknell, I went into my first ever Kintsugi workshop with the other Fellows not knowing exactly what to expect. I would not consider myself a visual artist beyond the occasional recreational painting when I am feeling particularly creative, and this left me entering the MakerSpace on campus with a bit of hesitancy about what I would be able to produce. It became evident through the workshop, however, that this art form is exactly what you make it. There is no right answer when it comes to putting the pieces back together on a broken object, but rather the final product is what appears to be the most whole in the eye of the artist. 

For me, this wholeness” did not mean covering all the imperfections on the chipped and porous rock that I chose to work with. Rather, it meant preserving the character of the item by allowing the blemishes to show and simply using the gold over the few cracks that caught my attention. The final product of my rock was not perfect by any means, and this undoubtedly came with a bit of frustration throughout the process. But the art of Kintsugi is not about mending an item back to its original state, or this state of perfection”. It requires patience, care, and attention in order to transform the object into something more meaningful. 

Oftentimes when we are faced with challenges or defeat in our lives, we fear that our own cracks are beginning to show. We are quick to try to cover our imperfections and mask any vulnerability that may become visible to others. The Kintsugi workshop offered me a chance to reflect on this and think about the tenets of the art as it relates to my own life. Kintsugi does not simply serve to mend a broken object, but to show us how to embrace our own flaws and the ways that they make us who we are. Instead of attempting to revert back to the original version of ourselves when faced with adversity, we should learn to accept these blemishes and allow them to transform us into a more whole individual. 

The workshop not only offered me a chance to connect with the other Fellows on campus, but it also allowed us to share this time of tranquility and deep focus, all while learning more about each other, and ourselves, in the process. 

Web Links

  • Christian higher education institutions celebrate the arts as an act of worship. 
  • Trailblazing composer Julia Perry on music as the universal language of love and mutual understanding. 
  • Feeling grateful doesn’t always happen naturally, but we can adjust our posture and strengthen our gratitude muscles. 
  • Mako and Greg Holder discuss the importance of beauty, creativity, and making new things as a way to push back the brokenness in our world.
  • The Glen Workshop, a conference focusing on art and faith sponsored by Image Journal, is back! 

Header image: The Good Samaritan” 1890 by Vincent Van Gogh