Japanese floral artist Azuma Makoto creates elaborate floral creations that he then subjects to the affects of time, weather and even altitude. His work is stunning to behold but equally as rich in meaning and symbolism. I love that he has taken traditions from thousands of years of his culture and reimagined them for the contemporary world! I speak to some of his works below, but encourage you to explore his work on your own via his Instagram (where I got these photos) and his website!
Some of his floral creation’s lives are documented via timelapse videos. These speak to the passage of time, as in his video work (below) that reference Japan’s 24 seasons. Each season is represented by specific flowers and expertly arranged.
Many of Makoto’s other works address the concept of time, but often in the sense that time has been frozen. The two pieces below are great examples of this.
Makoto has also been part of a group called Exobiotanica that creates and sends Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangements – a disciplined art form allowing the use of only living plants) into space. This has been described as “a flight to breathe new life into a traditional art form” (Source). In the 2014 project alone, two objects were sent into space (a Bonsai tree and a living bouquet). Cameras equipped on the devices snapped a photo every second, resulting in 12,000 images of these artworks. The project was repeated again in 2017.
Discussion for Kids
Out of the first three works shared here, which do you feel best communicates the artist’s theme of the passage of time?
Looking at the two pictures from Exobiotanica, do you think that these accomplish the goal of breathing new life into the art of floral design? Explain your answer.
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