I have been talking about what Ikebana is and came to a conclusion last month. Our next question is “Is Ikebana Art?”To answer that question, first we have to make it clear what art is. But that is a very difficult question. Not many people can give a clear and concise answer, because there are so many definitions of art. All I can do is to give my own answer.
I’ll give my conclusions first. Is Ikebana art? There are some artistic factors in it. Is Ikebana contemporary art? Over 99% of Ikebana is not contemporary art.
With regards to Ikebana and art there are a couple of notable points. First, it was proposed that Ikebana is an art form in the influential New Ikebana Declaration in 1930’s. Among many Ikebana artists who were influenced by this declaration are the head masters of the Sogetsu and Ohara schools that developed significantly after the war. Arguing that Ikebana is art helped them gain many new students. What did they mean by art at that time?
Next, Ikebana has been influenced by Western art since the Meiji restoration. How about now? Can Ikebana be part of contemporary art? What is contemporary art anyway? We need to know certain basic things to understand what contemporary art is. We will think about all those issues from now on.
The work I show this month is a commercial boxed flower that is not too expensive and easy to carry. Can we make such an Ikebana work? Not many Ikebana artists have researched this aspect.
I would like to let you know that my article, Ikebana in English: Bibliographical essay was published in International Journal of Ikebana Studies, Vol.2. The journal is available now. Check my site for the details. https://ikebanastudies.wordpress.com