KINTSUGI ART EXHIBITION CONTENTS
Welcome to the Kintsugi Art Exhibition hosted by MBCC.
Since last October, our church has had a monthly Kintsugi art workshops. At these classes over 100 participants have repaired the plates you see today. This art exhibition is the culmination of that work. It is also relational art created together through the cooperation and prayers of many volunteer staff. First, kintsugi is a traditional craft that was started in Japan over 500 years ago and has been passed down to the present day. It’s the repairing of pottery that is broken or chipped by using lacquer to bond the pieces together while also decorating them with gold or silver. It has spread with the culture of the tea ceremony, which mainly uses things like tea bowls and pottery. It’s a technique that was born from the “wabi-sabi” that is said to be characteristic of Japanese culture. There is a unique and varied beauty in things that are broken, things that are lacking, that is to say, in things that are imperfect. The tea masters of the past experienced beauty in making use of this concept. By repairing pottery and applying gold, they made the seams stand out more, and they called the seams “scenery” or “flowing streams.” Ever since the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, there has been a focus in Japan on the traditional craft of kintsugi in order to repair objects that were broken by natural disaster. And now the technique of kintsugi is not limited to Japan, but is spreading around the world. The beauty of the culture, and the spirituality that flows through kintsugi is becoming something that resonates with many people, transcending time and borders. “Where there is life, there is wholeness.”
It is said that, nowadays, different people and different worlds have become closer through globalization. The spread of the internet has made it so that people, money, and things are being dramatically circulated around the world. However, at the same time, we are surrounded by a lot of problems: war, conflict, division, terrorism, environmental destruction, and economic disparity through the monopolization of wealth. Through these problems we see that there is something missing or broken in the relationship between man and God, in the relationship between man and man, and in the heart of each individual person. Because we are living in such a world, we feel that “a meaningful encounter with life” is being sought. People are looking for a real heart to heart “connection.
Section 1 “Story of the Man Blind from Birth”
In the Bible there is the story of “the man blind from birth” (John 9). As Jesus and his disciples were walking toward Jerusalem, they met a blind man. He was a man who had been blind since birth and he was begging. Seeing him, the disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned so that he would be born blind? Was it he? Or his parents?” In other words, they questioned if his being born blind was his fault or if it was his parents’ fault. Being born blind was this man's reality. Why was he blind when he was born? ...how could God allow that to happen? And beyond those questions was a hopeless sorrow. Such sorrow often produced fear in his heart. It was a question of “am I loved?” “Does God love me?” “Or am I even worthy of love?” These types of fear can eventually turn into hatred and blame toward God, toward man, and toward self. These feelings destroy a person’s identity. It’s just like a broken plate. But it isn’t just the blind man alone. Every one of us has cracks and weaknesses like a broken plate. But a lot of the time we don’t notice it or can’t see it in ourselves. By leaving the cracks of life untouched, after a period, we realize we are carrying a load of problems in our heart. These problems can hurt people and ourselves. We are just like the broken pieces of plates.
(A tower made of broken pieces of plates)
That is why Jesus answered the blind man like this? “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. It was so that the works of God might be displayed in this person.” In other words, He said that the reason the man was born blind was not the man’s fault, nor was it his parents’ fault. It was so that the works of God, so that God's glory, would be revealed. Those words shone a beam of light into the man's heart. He had lived in darkness without a place in this world. Jesus words were “life” to him. Leonard Cohen (Christian singer and songwriter) said; “There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.” It’s the same for everyone as nobody is perfect in this world. In reality, we all have “weaknesses”, or “cracks”. But God loved us so much that He sent us Jesus, the Light of this world. So that we can walk, not in the darkness of this world, but in the light. “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) If we don’t recognize we have cracks or weaknesses, or if we think we don’t have such things, we won’t know the splendor of God's love and light. We will never experience it's brightness. The man who was blind from birth met Jesus and Jesus healed him. He was able to see and was changed into a person filled with joy. The same is true for us. Through Jesus Christ, our identity and relationship with God are restored, as a “child of God” created by God. It’s just like a plate repaired with kintsugi. Despite starting out as a broken plate, it’s carefully bonded piece by piece until it becomes whole, and, by applying gold, it’s changed into something more beautiful than the original. That is surely the form of a person who has met Christ and been changed by Him. And when each of us, who have been changed by Christ, join together a church is formed. This is a form of restoration in the relationship between God, others, and ourselves. That is the theme displayed in this artwork.
The flower arrangement in the center represents “life.” The symbol of life is “Jesus Christ.” The surrounding plates repaired with kintsugi are the forms of the people who have had their relationships with God, man, and self restored through Jesus. The connected plates are the form of the community that is the church. In that is love and harmony. How is such harmony possible? Like the Bible says, it is because Jesus himself is “Light” and “Love.” It is because Jesus himself loves us and, because of that love, He was crucified on the cross and shed His precious blood. In sacrificing His own life, He gave “life” to us. The Bible promises that if we choose in life to walk with Jesus, we will be given true “life” in our hearts. This life is grace from God, given from heaven through Jesus Christ. The blue fabric and countless cranes represent that. The love of God pours down on us like a rain of grace. The Biblical meaning of the colour of blue is “Holy Spirit”, “Grace”, or “Water of life”.
There is surely a lot of sadness and anger on this earth. The acts of division, murder, and terrorism that infest society are born from hatred, curses, and fear. They hurt other people and they hurt us. However, we declare that we are those who choose to restore our relationships with God, man, and self through Jesus Christ and we are those who live with a “connection to life.”
Our prayer is that all people will meet Christ and have their lives changed, and that those who live with happiness will become those who tell others about Jesus.
Section 2 Artwork and Explanation
In section 2, we have provided a giant testimony board for you to share the grace and blessings that God has given to your life. We’d like you to share your individual encounters with Christ, and in what way was your life changed into a blessing. Write your story on Japanese washi paper and stick it on the board. You may write it in your own language. Experiences through forgiveness, through healing, through love, through the restoration of relationships... Your thoughts on today’s kintsugi artwork. Anything is fine. We also encourage you to take a look at the testimonies of others as well. Because the Lord’s grace and new encounters exist within them. We trust that you will be blessed by knowing God’s work in people’s lives.
Section 3 Artwork and Explanation
The city of Auckland is a city of immigrants coming from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. It is a multiracial and multicultural city. As can be seen in the act of terrorism caused by immigrant hate in Christchurch we all know that in life and society there are a lot of problems to still cope with. Mairangi Bay Church as a multicultural church is where we all embrace all the differences of ethnicity, culture, and language to be one loving caring community of God's people. Today I’d like for us to create a piece of artwork together that holds the meaning of “Unity in Christ.” Using the circle shaped paper, we’d like you to create your own original kintsugi plate motif. Then, write your name or place of birth on it, and please stick it on the board outside the entrance as a symbol of unity within the church. What we’d like to express is that each of us may have different birth circumstances, names, personalities, and cultures, but even with those differences, joining hand in hand, we are all connected as one in the Lord as “children of God” which brings a beautiful evidence of unity.
John 9 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. 8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” 10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked. 11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” 12 “Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said.
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.”18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become hisdisciples too?” 28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.