The American Academy of Religion, names Makoto Fujimura as its ’2014 Religion and the Arts’ award recipient. This award is presented annually to an artist, performer, critic, curator, or scholar who has made a significant contribution to the understanding of the relations among the arts and the religions, both for the academy and for a broader public.
American Academy of Religion will formally present the award at a special awards ceremony, this evening (November 23rd), in San Diego, at the AAR Annual Meeting. Fujimura will also be the featured speaker, in scholarly conversation about his work, religion and art, at a Special Topics Forum.
Previous recipients of the award include Meredith Monk, Holland Carter, Gary Snyder, Betye & Alison Saar and Bill Viola.
Makoto Fujimura – in response to his being named this award recipient -
“I am deeply honored by this award. I have worked all my life toward the integration of art, faith and culture: What I have been calling ‘Culture Care’ is an approach to bring this integrated reality into the lives of all who seek deeper wisdom. Creating beauty, using precious Nihonga materials in a contemporary arts context, is all part of my pilgrimage toward this integrated wisdom. Creating International Arts Movement and Fujimura Institute is an effort to archive and resource others with this wisdom as well. I look forward to a conversation that leads for all of us to seek to ‘be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.’ (Rom. 8:21)”
Dr. Philip G. Ryken, president of Wheaton College recently sent this message:
“My first visit to one of Mako Fujimura’s exhibitions at a Manhattan art gallery brought fresh vision and unexpected beauty into my life. For Fujimura, life-giving beauty has its origins in the character of Jesus Christ. But the generous gift he wants to share is not sectarian. His work invites anyone and everyone to care for our culture—and its future—by nourishing its soul.”
Dana Gioia, a poet and former chairman of National Endowment for the Arts, sent his congratulatory note:
“The great spiritual trend of our era has been the synthesis of the world’s religious traditions in an attempt both to clarify human universals and to free us from our own cultural bias. Most of this new work, however, becomes generic and generalized. Makoto Fujimura’s signature distinction has been to fuse the Eastern and Western traditions–artistic, spiritual, and literary- in ways that both reinvigorate and assert their individuality even as they combine into innovative new forms of expression.”
D. Michael Lindsay, award winning sociologist, educator and President of Gordon College:
“Never before have global Christians had more resources and opportunities to be a force for good in the world. Sadly, we don’t leverage these resources or take advantage of these opportunities nearly as often as we should. The work of Mako Fujimura and the Fujimura institute is at the vanguard of inspiring Christians to not just participate in culture, but to join God in the important work of redeeming it for the common good.” – Michael Lindsay, Gordon College president and professor of sociology”
Andrew Nemr, tap dancer artist , recipient of the Flo-Bert Award for Lifetime Achievement , co-founder of the Tap Legacy Foundation, Inc., TED Fellow and artist in residence for the Quarterly Arts Soiree :
“With untold advances in technology and science in the past century there continues a general expectation that greater knowledge will provide for a more humane society. In truth it will be the courage to expose the sensitivities of the heart, to develop relationships based not on our survival instincts but rather on a desire to love, and to create work and spaces that point to these ideas, that will bring deep and lasting change to our global culture. Makoto Fujimura’s sensibility to these tenets are palpable. His spirit to forge a path towards the changes necessary to develop a culture in which the caring for the other is a fundamental cornerstone should never be understated.”
Philip Yancey, author of “What’s So Amazing about Grace?” and “The Jesus I Never Knew“
“While achieving excellence in his own field, Makoto Fujimura has sacrificially devoted himself to nurturing artists of all media, especially those sensitive to culture care. The novelist Walker Percy once said, ‘[In art] you are telling the reader or the listener or the viewer something he already knows but which he doesn’t quite know that he knows, so that in the action of communication he experiences a recognition, a feeling that he has been there before, a shock of recognition.’ Art communicates in a manner at once subtle and transformative. Perhaps the mysterious power of art—its lasting worth as well as its echo of original Creation—can serve as a rumor of transcendence, thus suggesting some template of meaning that modern culture lacks. This world bears the stamp of genius, the stain of ruin, and the hint of redeemability, and that triune intuition of faith offers such a template.”
Matt Heard, author of “Life with a Capital L: Embracing Your God-Given Humanity”
“To use words from Thornton Wilder’s, ‘Our Town,’ Makoto Fujimura is a human being who genuinely ‘realizes life while he lives it.’ He contagiously cherishes an awareness of both the gift and calling embedded in our humanity. For him to receive an award combining religion and the arts is profoundly appropriate because Makoto’s work, words, art and life all convey an understanding that the common ground of religion and art is indeed our humanness – and that an engagement with both our Creator and our creativity are colors that equally belong on the canvas of our culture. His re-humanizing summons to culture-care fuels the redemptive yearning within each one of us for the world that ought to be.”
Andy Crouch, executive editor, Christianity Today and author, “Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling” and “Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power”
“In a utilitarian age, beauty is a rare and radical commitment. Beauty that fully engages with suffering is more rare and radical still. Makoto Fujimura’s work both as a painter and as a convener and leader is infused with quiet confidence that humankind has by no means exhausted the resources to recreate and renew our cultural inheritance. This is hopeful culture making at its best.”