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‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord’ – that is what art does. Phyllis Novak

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Fujimura, Makoto - VM - Ned Bustard

 
Makoto Fujimura: Shalom
 
 
A Tree of Peace
 
by Ned Bustard
 
This month we will honour another anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, 2001. On this occasion I often take time to study the lithograph Shalom by Makoto Fujimura. I am honoured to have one from the edition hanging in my home. Always lovely, the piece takes on extra gravity for me at this time of the year. In Objects of Grace: Conversations on Creativity and Faith Mako explains how it was made and some of its significance:
 
‘On September 12 I took my family to upstate New York. I was working at Corridor Press in Otego, NY with master printer Tim Sheesley, who is the brother of painter Joel Sheesley, on a lithography series on the theme of shalom. The image was of a medieval quince tree that I had sketched at The Cloisters in New York. I had made the drawing for the piece the previous March but over the months the piece had taken on even more significance. As I thought about this simple image, the work began to speak to me as a small seed within me of shalom. For me the word shalom is not just about the absence of war but about the wholeness of humanity. It is the sense of something being renewed moment by moment. It is what the prophet Jeremiah wrote about God’s faithfulness when he bought a field in Jerusalem as a step of faith and restoration. It is the peace that I had on September 11, 2001. I had been trapped underground and cut off from everyone and my cell phone wasn’t working, but walking back to my studio that day, not knowing if my wife and children were safe, I had this strange sense of shalom, that God was still fully in control. In a sense that was my only real option, I was so completely aware that I had absolutely no control over what was happening. That seed of shalom had taken root in my heart.’
 
In John 14:27 Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.’ They had not experienced the horror of planes crashing into skyscrapers, but their world was no less upside down and their future unknown. And they would all be giving up their lives in the years to come as the Church was established. Still, Jesus says not to be afraid. Through the work of the Holy Spirit they were going to be given an unworldy peace that they could rest in even as the world around them crumbled.
 
Christians around the world are given this peace. Regardless of the trials and troubles we encounter, we can be like they who are planted by streams of water yielding fruit in its season, with leafs that do not wither. In all they do, they prosper.
 
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Makoto Fujimura: Shalom, 2001, 47,5 x 62,5 cm, hand printed lithograph on paper.
 
Makoto Fujimura is an artist, writer, and speaker who is recognized worldwide as a cultural influencer by both faith-based and secular media. A presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts (2003–2009), Fujimura has contributed internationally as an advocate for the arts, speaking with decision-makers and advising governmental policies on the arts. Fujimura’s work is exhibited at galleries around the world, including Dillon Gallery (New York City), Sato Museum (Tokyo), The Contemporary Museum of Tokyo, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts Museum, and Oxford House, Taiku Place (Hong Kong). Fujimura’s book Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture (NavPress, 2009) is a collection of essays bringing people of all backgrounds together in conversation and meditation on culture, art, and humanity. In addition to Square Halo Books’ Objects of Grace and It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God, Mako is featured in Rouault-Fujimura: Soliloquies alongside Georges Rouault. Fujimura founded the International Arts Movement in 1992. For more information go to www.MakotoFujimura.com.
 
For a visual meditation about the work Golden Pines-Gordon by Fujimura, click here
 
Ned Bustard is a graphic designer, author, illustrator, printmaker, and the creative director for Square Halo Books, Inc. www.WorldsEndImages.com, www.NedBustard.com, www.SquareHaloBooks.com
 
ArtWay Visual Meditation September 9, 2012