Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture
This contemplative book is written from the introspective viewpoint of an artist, Makoto Fujimura, as a man who survived 911 and lives only a few blocks from Ground Zero in New York City. His heartfelt desire is to encourage artists to "wrestle with the deep questions of art, faith, and humanity in order to inspire the creative community to engage the culture that is and create the world that ought to be." Mr. Fujimura shows some of his accomplishments as an artist, using essay to demonstrate his skills and thinking in the creative process of developing artwork.In Refractions, Mr. Fujimura addresses such topics as: 911, the National Council on the Arts, teens with regressive behaviors, tensions between the "old" and the "new" culture in China, the collision of art and democracy, sharing the true meaning of Christmas through art, dance - the gift of physical grace, the purpose of art, and more. While this book was more of an ethereal series of essays, thoughts, and prayers than I am used to reading, it made me think...a lot. I realize that my view of life is far different, maybe not theologically, but in my awareness of all that is around me. This was an interesting book that I prefered to read in bits and pieces, one chapter at a time. Whether you are an artist or not, I think you will enjoy this deeper philosophical book.
May 16, 2009
Because I do crafts which involve creativity, I suspected that I could take away some helpful insight from Makoto Fujimuras book since he is an artist and someone who understands the creative process. He certainly does know art, but he offers much more. I enjoy learning new information as well, so it was pleasing to come away with more knowledge than I had before.A good deal of wisdom about faith and art can be found among the collection of essays which make up this book. The author writes as beautifully as is his artwork, which makes it a bit intimidating for an average reader like me to dare comment about his writing! Take my word for it, readers will feel that they have become more cultured by exposing themselves to his thoughts presented in such an ethereal writing style.Mr. Fujimura lives with his family in the Ground Zero area of New York City and most of the essays shared were written between 2001 through 2006. As one can imagine, the events of September 11, 2001 had a life-changing impact on him and it is apparent that he has reflected on that day often. No doubt that there will be a few essays that readers will find especially moving to them, as I did.One note of advice I would like to give is that if a reader is unfamiliar with the definition of the word refraction, then look up its meaning. It is a word that the author uses about once per essay, so it bodes well to know what it means in order to understand its context as the book is read. See, even before readers open the book there is potential to learn something from the title alone!
May 14, 2009
Everything about this book is absolutely beautiful! From the actual design of the book to the pictures of art inside. Makoto Fujimura is brilliant writer as well as an incredible artist. Each and every chapter is well written, and the message is meaningful to the reader. This book and Makoto Fujimuras words will stick with me for a long time to come. He is definitely one talented guy! If youre looking for a book to meditate on, learn from, and open your eyes to the beauty around you, this is it!
April 26, 2009
Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture by Makoto Fujimura, a contemporary Christian artist shares his art, thoughts, and faith in this journal of poignant essays. Influenced by 9/11, since he lives 3 blocks from ground zero, has largely shaped him and it comes out in his writings. This work is written in journal form going from one topic to the next, without any clear connection to other chapters. The only underlying theme mentioned throughout are his thoughts and experiences with 9/11. In one chapter he shares about meeting the architect of the Freedom Towers. Included are a couple drawings / pictures of the proposed Freedom Towers.He does share influences in his life, including his faith in Christ; new experiences, such as visiting colleges with his son; his experiences teaching troubled students and how art made a difference; he talks of his travels, his awards, and other life experiences that have shaped him.According to Websters dictionary, Refractions are looking at something through a (art) medium. I guess you can say we get to see into the heart of Mr. Fujimura through his art, faith, and his writings. This book has mostly colored pictures of his art and other photos, that embellish each chapter. This would make a great gift book, for your contemporary art loving friends.
April 23, 2009