Wheaton College's "Stepping into Silence" Exhibit grows out of Shusaku Endo’s novel, Silence, which is the core text for Wheaton's Christ at the Core Fall Series 2016. Artist Makoto Fujimura's work, which offers a response to the novel, is featured prominently in the exhibit.
Makoto Fujimura is an internationally-recognized artist, writer, and speaker, who directs the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary. Since his founding of the International Arts Movement in 1991, he has convened artists around major issues, which work led to his Presidential appointment to the National Council on the Arts from 2003 to 2009. He has written several major works integrating art and theology: Culture Care and Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture. Today, this art advocacy continues in his leadership at the Brehm Center and in the Culture Care Summit, to be held next in February 2017.
Fujimura graduated with a B.A. from Bucknell University, and completed a doctoral program at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, the first non-native to graduate from the painting program.
Fujimura learned from mentors the techniques and ethos of the Japanese artistic tradition referred to as Nihonga, a water-based technique that uses pigments made from minerals, oyster shells, bone, and other naturally-occurring elements. This ancient art form demonstrates reluctance to impose upon what naturally occurs, and it explores things hidden beneath. Fujimura has long celebrated the effects of surface and depth that are possible with Nihonga in tension with one of the presumed tenets of Western modernism—that paintings are all about surface. His paintings, instead, have a beauty that shows itself slowly and deeply.
Fujimura has engaged deeply with Shusaku Endo’s Silence in both his own artwork and in the writing of his latest book Silence and Beauty, which serve as guides into our own pilgrimage through this exhibition. About the works he offers us here, Fujimura writes,
As I wrote Silence and Beauty, reflecting on Shusaku Endo's masterpiece Silence and anticipating Martin Scorsese’s upcoming movie, I saw the silver threads of God's grace woven through my thirty-year journey since encountering the 250 years of persecution in Japan, and then seeing "Ground Zero" expand in my life and in the world. I have chosen these significant pieces as markers of my journey from the old creation into the New Creation breaking in.
View the first piece of the exhibit, Ju-nan (Passion) Panel.
As part of Wheaton College's Christ at the Core Fall Series, "Stepping Into Silence" is a meditative exhibition designed to engage with Shusaku Endo’s powerful novel Silence by means of historical artifacts and artistic responses.