Sacred Spaces Exhibition


 

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Sacred Spaces was an exhibition of the work of seven diverse artists curated by artist Jenny Meehan and on show at Leatherhead Theatre in May 2014. My idea was to portray places that provided an opportunity for contemplation and reflection. Three works from my Japan Portfolio were chosen to form part of this exhibition:

Hilary Walker – Artist’s Statement

              “I’ve been interested in photography for many years. I like the immediacy of a photograph and how it can tell a story. With photography, I think that the relationship between the image and the artist is a subtle one; the photograph itself is often (but not always) very representational and perhaps could be seen as little to do with the artist compared to a painting or a drawing. However, the photographer is very influential in the final result. They choose the viewpoint of the photograph, the scale, colour intensity and contrast, the composition and the main focus of the image. Sometimes I manipulate the original a great deal so that it becomes an abstract piece. With these photographs I kept the realism to the fore to emphasise that this is not about the artist as such, more about the people who use these things to relate spiritually to their world.”

 

Japan : from ‘Hello Kitty’ to high art

Japan is a country of contrasts; from high tech products to traditional designs; from ‘Hello Kitty’ to high art. What unifies the Japanese is their deep spirituality, evident everywhere in their culture and daily life. These photographs are part of a larger portfolio of work and represent ways in which the Japanese express their spirituality, allowing time to both rest and contemplate Life in its wider sense.

 

Fuji-san from the Shinkansen to Kyoto low res

Natural features in the landscape are often places of pilgrimage in Japan. Mount Fuji is a sacred mountain to the Japanese and the highest peak at 3776m. Fuji-san is also an active volcano. The beautiful and distinctive shape of Fuji-san (‘san’ is a mark of respect) features in many ukiyo-e (Japanese woodcut prints), in particular those by Hokusai.

 

Miyajima low res

 

Religion is an integral part of Japanese life. Both Shinto and Buddhism prevail in a state of harmony within the country since most Japanese follow both faiths. Both provide opportunities for contemplation and reflection; the torii gates from Shinto and gigantic statues of Buddha are both integrated into Japanese life.

 

The house of Shiga Naoya low res

This is the house of Shiga Naoya, a revered writer in Japan. The traditional building provides a sanctuary and a peaceful place in which he could create his work. The fruit drying at the window are kumquats. They are dried in the Autumn and often made into candied treats. The sparse simplicity of a traditional Japanese house and the use of natural materials such as wood, paper, ceramic and stone create a calm and balanced space in which to work.