summer public art project invites each guest to make a “wishing flag”
Japanese native and Brooklyn-based artist, Jun’ichiro Ishida, is spending the summer at Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center as their artist-in-residence. As the summer resident, he is free to work on his own art and he is responsible for developing and guiding the garden’s annual summer public art project. Past summer projects have included The Great Windchime, You Make the Bed You Sleep In, andPillars: Wishes for a Better World. Each of these summer projects has featured a unique theme, but they have all invited Annmarie guests to help create some element of the project.
This summer, Jun has developed a project titled Wish Mandala, a project designed to “create harmony in the community.” The centerpiece of the project will be a giant outdoor mandala surrounded by numerous “wishing flags.” A mandala, meaning “circle” in Sanskrit, is a sacred design that represents wholeness, a sort of cosmic diagram that represents our connection to, and place in, the universe. Jun will create the Annmarie mandala from natural materials collected from the garden. Each visitor to Annmarie is invited to write a wish on their “wishing flag” and decorate the flag with drawings, paints, and stamp marks. The flags will be hung in and around the mandala, and as Jun explains, the “winds blows through the flag and carry your wish to the universe.”
Jun’s choice of a mandala is the result of his experiences of living in Nepal and practicing Buddhism for the past ten years, as well as the impact of living in New York during the 911 attacks. His time in Nepal left him with a deeper sense of peace, an inner calm that left little room for an interest in material possessions. Following 911, he was so stunned by his “witnessing of the existence of pure evil,” he was not able to create art for nine months, the longest period he had ever gone without making art since he was 17. When he did finally begin working again, he realized he wanted to be a promoter of peace, a creator of positive energy. This realization led to a period during which he thought a great deal about what his art can and should do. He found he was not interested in shocking art, but rather art that revealed and celebrated “the good side of human nature.” Together these experiences have turned his artistic and spiritual life to a quest for harmony. In the mandala, he has found a process and a product that embody his values.
As he creates the Annmarie mandala, Jun will have a “conversation with nature,” as he picks the materials and design of the mandala. For Jun, the process of making the mandala is a quest for harmony, it is a “peaceful process and the piece itself conveys my calmness to the people who look at it.” Annmarie guests are invited to observe his creative process and to contribute to Wish Mandala with their “wishing flag.” Guests who would like to contribute to Wish Mandala can visit Annmarie any day of the week, 10am-5pm, through August 31. Groups that wish to schedule time to talk with or work with Jun should call ahead to schedule a tour.
Artist Statement – Jun’ichiro Ishida
I envision my art as promoting the positive essence of the human experience to create harmony in the community. I want my pieces to wake up the audience from idling in the impermanence of the floating world and make them become aware of living in the present moment in fully. To advance them to a level of consciousness embodied in the following declarations: Live the life. Now is the time. Focus and concentrate. I want to celebrate being alive in an interrelated world. I believe that absolute beauty resides in tranquility. I challenge the notion of self-serving, self-important, self-expressional art. Also, I contest the idea of art as protesting, criticizing, or merely reflecting our society. I would rather dedicate my work to preserving the good side of human nature rather than reducing it to a just complaint. In working toward this mission, I distil and decant ingredients from my surroundings and strive to radiate them with pure energy.
To realize my vision, I incorporate all aspects that gave me positive influences from life experiences. I am keenly aware of my Asian heritage, I am familiar with both western art and non-western art include the philosophy of art making. I advocate the concept of art making as not for the expression of individuality but as a dedication to realized beings, which is still strong motivation of making art in many parts of the world. I am also highly committed to aesthetics that I have four guiding principles: unexpected composition, skillfully and cleverly crafted forms, richness in color, and unique layering effects. According to these principals, I manipulate dimension, form, and color.
My art shares tranquility with others. I want my viewer to be calmly awake, to be mindful and aware of the joy of living. When the radiance from a painting is conveyed to an audience – and when they feel that positive energy - I consider my work a success.
Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, located on the waterfront in the Solomons community, is one of the region’s most unique cultural assets. Annmarie hosts some of southern Maryland’s best-loved events, including the Father’s Day Fling, theChalk-a-thon, Artfest, Halloween in the Garden, and the award-winning Garden in Lights. On a daily basis, the garden is a great place to visit for all ages. The sculpture garden has a paved path this is perfect for enjoying art and nature, taking a walk, or riding a bike. In the beautiful Arts Building, visitors can always find an interesting exhibit, daily activities, and the Gift Shop. Throughout the sculpture garden and in the Arts Building, visitors will find more than forty-five works of sculpture on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art. In the summer, visit the garden for a special treat – more than forty handmade fairy houses are tucked away in nooks and crannies around the garden! Admission is $3 for adults (age 12 & up), $2 for seniors and for children (age 5-11); and free for children age 4 & under. Annmarie members are free. To learn more, call 410-326-4640 or visit www.annmariegarden.org
From Washington, D.C.: Take Route 4 South to Exit 11 (Prince Frederick). Continue on 4 South, following signs to Solomons. Left on Dowell Road at Solomons Firehouse. Garden is less than 1/4 mile on left.
From Baltimore (Beltway I-695): Take I-97 (Annapolis) to Route 301 South (Bowie). Continue on 301 to Route 4 and follow signs to Solomons. Left on Dowell Road at Solomons Firehouse. Garden is less than 1/4 mile on left.
From Annapolis: Follow Route 2 South toward Prince Frederick/Solomons. Left (south) onto Route 2/4 at Sunderland light. Left on Dowell Road at Solomons Firehouse. Garden is less than 1/4 mile on left.