Makoto Fujimura, Art and Faith: A Theology of Making (New Haven: Yale, 2021), 167pp.
For over thirty years now, Makoto Fujimura (born 1960) has explored the boundaries between his creative work as an artist and his spiritual journey as a Christian. This book follows several others on this theme, and represents his fullest consideration of the interplay between the theological and the aesthetic.
Every Sunday believers around the world confess in the Nicene Creed that God is the "maker of all things visible and invisible." The corollary of this, which is at the heart of Fujimura's book, is that human beings who are made in the image of God are also "makers." We are Homo faber as well as Homo sapiens, he says. Thus the subtitle of the book. "Being an artist is not an anomaly to faith," he writes, "but is central to faith and to the place of the church in the world; and in order to understand the fullness of the grace of God, we all must think, act, and make like an artist. Artists can lead in the rediscovery of the central purpose of our being to make."
Significant portions of the book include his interpretations of Biblical texts, like the tears of Jesus in John 11–12, which lead him to propose a "Lazarus Culture." He interacts with a broad range of artists and writers (notably William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Mark Rothko and TS Eliot). I especially enjoyed his passages of spiritual memoir, that is, stories about his personal life in the studio, in church, and in the world at large (he was living at Ground Zero in NYC during 9/11). And as you would expect, there are reflections on various artistic techniques, like Nihonga, and an entire chapter on Kintsugi, where "what once was broken is repaired not to hide its flaws but to celebrate them as part of what is to become beautiful."
Fujimura's art has been included in recent exhibitions in New York and Asia, and has been featured in the New York Times and the Atlantic. He is also the founder of IAMCultureCare and the Fujimura Institute, and co-founder of Kintsugi Academy. He has served on the National Council on the Arts. His works are in permanent collection at the National Modern Museum of Art in Tokyo, Yokohama Museum of Art, Tokyo University of the Arts Museum, the Saint Louis Museum, the Cincinnati Museum, the CNN building in Hong Kong, and other museums globally. Tikotin Museum in Israel hosted a solo exhibit in 2018.
Dan Clendenin: email@example.com