“It was clear that art and beauty were among those necessary things we had to provide in an emergency.” -Roger Lowther, author of Beauty of Aroma
We experience loss and grief in life. But, we have to remember that nothing is wasted. We (and the cities) are going to be better, brighter, stronger, wiser, warmer, and more loving with having gone through the events. And, arts (visual arts, music, or any forms) have the power to heal us and others. I personally experienced it.
“Path, Mighty Hue” (diptych) – detail, Misako OBA, 2021. Mixed Media on Canvas, 32×20 inch (81x51cm)
There was the “Aroma of Beauty” Art Conference 2021 in Tokyo to remember stories of hope and healing. Artists share about finding the “aroma of beauty” in our broken and devastated world.
As a visual artist, I was invited to exhibit my work at this event. Over twenty paintings from the “Stars and Desert” series were shared on their walls, ranging from 2016 to 2021.
“Stars and Desert” Series
The body of my work reflects my interest in human life as a journey. It examines our soul and explores universal experiences, such as emotions. It depicts light in darkness, beauty with its transient nature, and something larger than life.
I have been creating the series related to stars, desert, and our lives since 2014. I found myself drawn to stars when I moved to Seattle from New York City one year before. Having had an opportunity to see the desert and the Milky Way with the naked eye for the first time in my life around that time, after moving from big cities like New York City and Tokyo, motivated me to develop this series.
That was after I had experienced many consecutive unexpected losses: loss of my child, marriage, a finger, one-in-a-million case tragedies already twice by then, and many additional hardships. Life seemed unfair. It was very difficult and heartbroken. However, I was able to heal and recover each time rather quickly and felt at peace and even thankful for what life has to offer.
So, I wanted to share my perspective through this series as a visual statement.
“Bringing Forth” (diptych) – Misako OBA, Encaustic Mixed Media on Cradled Wood.
I overlapped my life with the story of Job in the Bible. He had terrible calamities but was blessed with the double for the rest of his life. Like him, I looked up to the sky and saw the stars and recognized God’s creations and his control. I believe God watches over our journey and blesses those who have faith in him. He can loose the cords of Orion and control from vast nature to the molecule level. So, I kept praying, trusting, even thanking God, and praising Him in the harsh dry “desert” time. The time in the deserts would also serve as a good preparation time and you could grow.
The Creator actually made “streams in the desert” for me. It happened more than once (since I had multiple tragedies).
As I experienced, God indeed heals the broken-hearted as it says in Psalm 147:3-5. He sometimes uses art to reach people’s heart.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”
This verse became encaustic art Heals the Brokenhearted in 2014 (the artwork is in the U.S.) and I felt motivated to create the series since then.
“Heals the Brokenhearted,” from Stars and Desert Series, Misako OBA, Encaustic Mixed Media on wood panel with black floater frame. 9x9x1 inch (approx. 23×23 cm)
As of 2021, the series is ongoing as Phase II. My latest work “Rising Higher with HIM” was created for those who still hurt or who are already healed but to reap higher from here.
“Rising Higher with Him” from Stars and Desert Series, Misako OBA, 2021.
Encaustic Mixed Media on wood panel with black floater frame. 9x9x1 inch (approx. 23×23 cm)
My art includes layers of memories, thoughts, dreams, paths, illusions, and disillusions. I also layer timeless Bible verses and modern computer-programming languages (code) from our time that are astronomical calculation algorithms, which correlate with the stars, desert, universe/planets, and our lives. These codes and text abstractly appear in my paintings.
However, I try not to illustrate my findings or verses in a literal sense. I include the soul and essence in my artwork and would like to give the audience the opportunity to feel something, ponder and discover their own way.
“Rising Higher with Him” (detail), Misako Oba
Although scientists and professionals continually research the patterns and details of the stars and universe, there is still something beyond human knowledge or understanding. I reflect and explore this mystery with a conceptual and psychological approach.
If you look closely, in art and life, the details and patterns may emerge. However, sometimes,
“L‘essentiel est Invisible pour les Yeux” (What is essential is invisible to the eye). –The Little Prince (by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry).
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” –2 Corinthians 4:18
You don’t have to fully “understand” arts. The essence is sometimes invisible. All we need is a small step with an open-minded or curious heart even during the painful time. Then, they will come to you. To enlighten, to encourage, to empower you! ✨ It will reconnect your true abilities and full potentials.😊 You rise higher!
Highlights Video from the Conference
The videos were uploaded in May in their website: Community Art Tokyo
Through this conference, art and beauty are not just luxury things when you can afford, but indeed, NECESSARY things that people need in an emergency. I learned this myself as well.
Gallery Exhibition at “Aroma of Beauty” Art Conference 2021 in Tokyo. Approximately 25 works are selected from the Stars and Desert series.
アート・シリーズ Stars and Desert (「星と荒野・砂漠」のシリーズ）について、。今年の東京での展覧会を機に初めて日本語での解説を書きおろしました。お楽しみに。
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