Thursday, 2 October 2014

Ikebana Today 28

We have been trying to find out what Ikebana is. Historically ikebana was a style of Ikebana (Ikebana as a general term for Japanese flower arrangement). It was contradiction to Takehana, the main stream of Ikebana but it seems to have something essential about Ikebana. Then, what is the essence of Ikebana? 

Let’s  look at the word “ikebana” more carefully. The word consists of ike and bana. Bana means flowers. What is ike(ru)? The original form of ikeru is a verb, iku, which has three basic meanings: 1. to make alive, 2. to do ikebana, 3. to bury (plants), etc. The first one is the oldest and closest to the original meaning of the word. 

So ikebana originally means to make flowers alive. We could imagine someone was arranging flowers around 15th century in a new fashion thinking “I am not making flower upright like Tatehana. I am making flowers alive. Let’s call what I am creating ikebana”. We now have to think what does it mean to make flowers alive. 

This month I’d like to show you my Christmas installation, Magical Tunnel  commissioned by the city of Ballarat in 2013. It is covered with solar lights and people can walk through the illumination at night. My task was to recycle the Christmas decorations and wastes from the previous years. To recycle them I had to break them down into smaller units and rearrange them into a new form. That process was very similar to Ikebana, breaking down natural materials and rearrange them in a harmonious order. This work was chosen as the most popular Christmas art work by the people of the city.