Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mrs. Yohena’s Garden: A living Work of Art

The entrance way into Mrs Yohena's Garden in the Izumi district of Motobu Town
 
I had the privilege yesterday to observe a couple of artists at work. One of them was Ryukyu Mike, a world infamous wildlife photographer and renowned party animal. The other was the matriarch of a farming family in rural Okinawa.
Room with a view. This rest area overlooks the lower part of the garden and is a great place to grab some shade and a cool drink on a hot day.

Now a lot of people claim to be artists these days and from what I’ve seen, a lot of them should be ashamed of themselves for calling themselves artists. For example, one fellow in a nearby village draws pictures with crayons that would make your average third grader’s work look like a Rembrandt!
With the price of everything else going through the roof these days, it's ice to see something to do that people can still afford.

Just the other day on the news, some fellow visiting Okinawa from some foreign country was being heralded for his pottery. To be honest, I couldn’t differentiate it from the mass produced junk that comes from the third world hell holes to be sold in the local 100 Yen shop. Artists, hardly!
A  view of the Yohena family homestead. Talk about a room with a view!!!
I think what makes someone an artist isn’t the fact that they think they’re an artist. What makes them an artist is that others call them artists. When you can look at what they’ve done in the medium of their choice and are awe struck by it, I think that makes them an artist!
Hey, where'd these pink Hydrangea's come from??? By the way, they're called "Ajisai" in Japanese...

As far as the medium of choice, it has no limits. For the writer, it’s the pictures they can paint in your mind with their words on the page. For the actor, it’s making you believe that they really are the character they are portraying on the stage or silver screen. For the sculptor, its making you believe the clay or stone they’ve lovingly shaped with their hands is real flesh and blood. In short, I think art is art when the one who crafts it has put a bit of themselves into it. In a word, they’ve breathed life into it. Art becomes art when the work moves the one who views it emotionally.
Mrs. Yohena, 95 years young and plenty spry poses for a picture with world famous wildlife photographer Ryukyu Mike

For Mrs. Yohena of Motobu Town, Okinawa, art is more than Van Gogh’s splashing of color on canvas or the minimalist beauty of an Ikebana sensei’s spiritual expression display of flowers. For her, a piece of canvas would be far too insignificant and a vase far too inadequate. For the Yohena family of Motobu town, art is life and their canvas is the hillside where they live.

The Ajisai will be in bloom for just a few more weeks so get out and enjoy them while you can. 

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