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Makoto Fujimura Visits Duke

This past spring, Duke Divinity School and the Duke University Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies (DAAV) hosted internationally acclaimed visual artist Makoto Fujimura for a two-day residency from March 31 to April 1, 2011.

Fujimura spent the first day of his residency visiting the DAAV. He spoke to Mark Olson’s class about his experience as an artist in New York City and how to resist the commodification of art for financial profit. He also provided a technical demonstration of his style of painting, Japanese Nihonga, and a workshop for Professor Raquel Salvatella de Prada’s class.

On the second day of his residency, Fujimura spent the day at the Divinity School. He addressed Jeremy Begbie’s Theology and the Arts class on how rigorous artistic technique can be combined with and informed by the richness of Christian tradition. At a lunchtime session, he described his firsthand experience of 9/11 and the resulting artistic collaborations that sought to “plant a seed of restoration for the downtown community.”

On his final evening at Duke, Fujimura gave a public lecture on his latest project, “The Four Holy Gospels,” an illuminated edition of the four New Testament Gospels published in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible of 1611. He also spoke about how his Christian faith informed this project, exploring the interplay of art and faith in a broader contemporary context.

Learn more about Fujimura in an interview with Faith & Leadership .