Contemporary Art, Meditation & Nature

Artist Nathalie Ishizuka, Kizuna Imagination, Original, Shodo Ink, with Watercolor on Paper and Canvas, 80cm x 60cm, Brussels Collection, Exhibition Kizuna, Japanese Embassy, Brussels Belgium, March 5-22 2024.


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Price: 750 Euros


Exhibition Kizuna : Embassy of Japan in Belgium March 5th – March 22nd 2024, Rue Van Maerlant 1, 1040 Brussels (10:00-12:00 and 13:30-16:00), Week Days Only, Embassy Hours.

The Japanese embassy of Brussels is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Kizuna: the Bonds that Unite us All, featuring the artist Nathalie Ishizuka and her most recent work on the Four Elements (earth, water, air and fire) and the Crane Wife Re-Told. Over thirty paintings exhibited.

The exhibition Kizuna is born from Ishizuka working full time for over ten years with the Philosopher Dr. Paul Briot and artists after the March 11, 2011 crisis (nuclear, earthquake, tsunami) on the use of art to elevate in crisis.

Ishizuka was sent to Japan after March 11 disaster by Dr. Briot to find, select, and work with great Japanese traditional artists and masters from several disciplines who could through their art create a moment of silence within the viewer. “I thought I was coming to contribute something to the artists,” says Ishizuka, “but it was them who were training me.

While Ishizuka comes herself from a family of artists including her grandfather who painted the designs of ships and kimonos, she had no formal training in art. She was a meditator with no experience in the arts.

Ishizuka had to find and become the disciple of each Japanese master, before hoping to meditate with one or create with another. She did not learn techniques of sumie, ninon buyo (dance), shodo, japanese architecture or other (which would have taken several lifetimes says Ishizuka), but the way of being of each artist.

Nathalie’s meditations and deep friendships with Japanese masters for over ten years such as Saiso Shimada after March 11, 2011 lead to herself become an artist.

“I became an artist, by a fortunate accident,” says Ishizuka. “I loved painting and creation as a child, but never imagined to have the freedom to paint and create from one’s inner imagination. Nor the grace of such artists who carried art from within.”

Series of Japanese Cranes Shodo and Acrylic Inspired by Hokusai

Within the exhibition are twelve paintings of cranes painted on Japanese shodo paper on Canvas with gold leaf and acrylic. Each painting is named after a virtue that Ishizuka believes carried the Japanese throughout the crisis and that can be experienced by each of us: Unity, Intuitive Action, Roll with Waves, Let Go, Open Heart, Stand Tall, Truth Within, Imagination, Extend, One Pointed Focus: Life, Living Blue Threads and Face the Sun.

These twelve paintings recount the story she wrote and illustrated after the tsunami and nuclear incident to share the message behind a letter co- authored with Dr. Briot. At that time Ishizuka states, “Dr. Briot entrusted me totranslate the letter to Japanese friends which asks artists to elevate us, but it was so deep, no one wanted to translate into Japanese. No one.”

“I left no stone untouched,” says Ishizuka. “I even asked Haruki Murakami, through his editor if he could help us. He liked the letter to Japanese friends but does not translate. Finally, when faced with resistance,” says, Ishizuka, “you have to be open to another path.”

“I decided to take a fable that the Japanese knew and loved, The Crane Wife (tsuru no ongaeshi) and change the fable to illustrate the main point of the letter, that each of us are threads, and that together with our inner imagination and manifestation we can create bonds that can change the earth.”

The crane in the story is the white bobbin in Dr. Paul Briot’s poem, “The White Spindle” . The poem reads,

A white bobin quivers. It links earth and sky.

A thread unites man with God.
We are that thread.
– Paul Briot, published in The Radiant..An Art towards the Infinite?” 2018 version, Publisher Caracteres

The drawings are inspired by Hokusai. Ishizuka drew them in his simple style of using one fine black line and a simple red dot. “There is something in his minimalist cranes,” says Ishizuka “that radiates great strength and beauty.”

“These twelve cranes that tell the tale of the Crane Wife in the exhibition are surrounded by paintings of the four elements. At the time of the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear incident, I had believed that man alone with God or the universe could overcome together. That we could re-invent ourselves,” says Ishizuka. “At the time, I was not yet aware in my meditations of the elements of earth, water, air and fire,” says Ishizuka. “These four elements are within each of us and embody the whole universe. Alone without them, we are nothing.”