Sunday, September 12, 2010

Refractions by Makoto Fujimura

In his work, Refractions- A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture, a compendium of essays and art, Makoro Fujimura, correlates art with a spiritual experience.  More specifically, Fujimura's art is a reflection of his own personal faith and spiritual observations- a reflection of the beauty of God.  Furthermore, the author elevates art into a form of religion.  He states that the desire for beauty is an inate, natural desire of all mankind, and that regardless of culture or religion, humankind has a shared appreciation for anything beauty- whether it is through art, poetry, or music. In fact, this appreciation of beauty has the possibility of creating a common bond or a common ground which in of itself can be a succeful outreach program by which to introduce people to the beauty of God, our creator.

For example, the use of gold and silver pigmentation and color in traditional Japanese art represents a significant Eastern culture, both socially and spiritually.  Its use in Japanese art had more than asthetic purpose.  When Fujimura uses gold and silver in his art, it is a conscious decision, not only for asthetic reasons but spiritual reasons.  In contrast to classic Eastern religious idealology, the author feels that the beauty and transluscent properties of gold and silver reflect the beauty and glory of God, depicted in the New Jerusalem of the bible's book of Revelation.  When he sees the brilliant pigments of gold and silver, he immediatly thinks of the glory, pwer and beauty of God reflected in a color. 

At first glance, to the causal observer, Fujimura's art appears abstract. Nothing recognisable can be distinguished in the mix of colors and shapes. It may even appear random and haphazard.   The special meaning behind his paintings and art is in his choice of colors, pigments and art mediums.  The choice of colors have a greater symbolic meaning.  In of itself, each piece of work represents a story or a journey in the author's own spiritual path. This book was very unique and was a pleasure to read.  The idea of using artwork as a springboard for outreach to share one's spiritual beliefs is an effective idea. I believe this indepth book would make a perfect selection for any college philosophy, art or literature program.  In conclusion, whether or not you are an artist is not what is significant.  Rather, the author presents that there is a need in each and everyone of us for creative expression.  In today's busy world, creativity is often overlooked.  The author believes we should make a deliberate choice to set aside time everyday to get in touch with our creative inner beings whether through art, writing, music or any other hobby for that matter.  God has given mankind a common appreciation for beauty, and if we have anything in common in our diverse cultures and beliefs it is the appreciation of anything beautiful.  As a blogger of Navpress publishers I recieved a copy of this book.

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