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Refractions [Paperback]

Our Price $ 21.24  
Retail Value $ 24.99  
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Item Number 423961  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   174
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.68 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 2009
Publisher   NAV PRESS #111
ISBN  1600063012  
EAN  9781600063015  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Explore how the arts and faith live together and how you can bring healing to a hurting world through your own creation.

A collection of essays, thoughts, and prayers from award-winning artist Makoto Fujimura, Refractions brings people of all backgrounds together in conversation and meditation on culture, art, and humanity.

Publishers Description
A collection of essays, thoughts, and prayers from award-winning artist Makoto Fujimura, Refractions brings people of all backgrounds together in conversation and meditation on culture, art, and humanity.

Buy Refractions by Makoto Fujimura from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781600063015 & 1600063012

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More About Makoto Fujimura

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Makoto Fujimura was born in 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts. Educated bicultural between the United States and Japan, Fujimura graduated from Bucknell University in 1983 and received an M.F.A. from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music as a National Scholar in Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) in 1989. His thesis painting was purchased by the university and he was invited to study in the Post-M.F.A. lineage program, a first for an outsider to this prestigious traditional program. During his years in the program, he experienced "a transfer of allegiance from art to Christ." His book River Grace ( traces his journey of mastering Nihonga technique, using carefully stone-ground minerals including azurite, malachite, and cinnabar, along with his deep wrestling with art and faith issues.
In 1992 he became the youngest artist ever to have had a piece acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Public collections include The Saint Louis Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and the Time Warner / AOL / CNN building in Hong Kong. His paintings are represented by Dillon Gallery in New York and in Tokyo (
Fujimura was appointed to the National Council on the Arts, a six-year presidential appointment, in 2003. WORLD magazine honored him as its Daniel of the Year in 2005.
In 1990 Fujimura founded The International Arts Movement (, an arts advocacy organization that wrestles with the deep questions of art, faith, and humanity. Fujimura has served as an elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church as well as a founding elder at The Village Church, both Presbyterian Church in America congregations in New York City. His writings on art and faith issues have appeared in Image Journal, Books and Culture, American Arts Quarterly, and WORLD magazine.

Makoto Fujimura currently resides in New York New York. Makoto Fujimura was born in 1960.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
refractions  Dec 1, 2009
It has a lot of ideas as to how art may be used as an integrating force in society. I did not think art could do that much. It is well written.
Wanted to be impressed  Jun 15, 2009
I wanted to like this book--I really did. The book's subtitle indicates a promising combination of faith, art, and culture. Though this series of blog postings indeed focuses on the intersection of all three, it simply bored me. The writing exudes grace and the visual artwork intrigues, but felt largely bland. I was expecting the author to be sort of like Henri Nouwen (if he had been a Japanese-American visual artist), or this work to be a more contemporary version of Madeline L'Engle's "Walking on Water," and I suppose that is why I am disappointed.

Peace-making and community-building are recurring themes in Fujimura's writing, and I think they should be more emphasized in the subtitle so that someone interested in these subjects would be more likely to pick up this book.

I do not consider myself a visual artist, and so perhaps I missed a lot of the richness of this text because of my ignorance. The book is beautifully presented, and I suspect there's more substance than I was able to appreciate. Anyone who wants to join Fujimura in working as a quiet activist for peace, hope and beauty through the arts will likely be inspired by his writing. However, as an educated layperson inclined to be interested, I was unmoved.
Finding beauty and light in brokenness  Jun 13, 2009
When I received Makoto Fujimura's Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture, I was wowed by the evident care that had gone into it's design. It is the loveliest paperback book I've ever seen. I expected to find it interesting, perhaps a little challenging, and certainly full of beauty.

But life intervened, first in the form of a traffic collision, then in the form of a layoff from my job. I found myself with more time on my hands than I was accustomed to having, but the last thing I wanted to do was read a collection of meditations by a Japanese-American artist. I read some, found myself foundering, and put it aside. Then, driven by a sense of responsibility to the publisher for sending me a free copy, I tried again. And again. And again.

I found after all my trying that the book was better than I wanted to admit. It isn't that I don't like art. It is that I do like logical, well-reasoned argument. I like a straight highway and a car with plenty of horsepower. Instead, I was forced to meander on a country path through unfamiliar landscapes, never knowing quite where I was going or how I was going to get there. It struck me that this was the sort of book my artistic wife would like. I'm not sure she has ever read a book straight through. She reads the beginning, jumps into the middle, skips to the end, backtracks, quits for a week, resumes from a different spot than where she left off, and generally leaves me dumbfounded. If I tried to read like that, my brain would turn to pudding.

(Full disclosure: My wife reminded me that she read The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck straight through and enjoyed it immensely. Incontrovertible evidence that she is a better person than I.)

Refractions is a book of meditations. I find that I cannot simply read it; I have to join in the meditation. Some of Fujimura's insights are penetrating. Much of what he has to say has been shaped by his proximity to the collapse of the Twin Towers. His studio was covered with dust from the Towers. His child was evacuated from school. He sees the gap where the Towers used to form the backdrop for his working life every day, a gap that seems to him more momentous and intense than any of the presences that still fill his life. Living, as I do, in Minnesota, the fall of the Towers was distant, like the wars that have come since. In fact, the war in Afghanistan has been more present to me because my son spent a year and a half there and is slated to return this fall. But the wars are also outgrowths from the gap where the Towers stood. For Fujimura the absence of the Towers signifies all the absences in our lives that make us incomplete or broken. Every return to Ground Zero is a kind of repentance, acknowledging that brokenness and calling for redemption. He believes that art can facilitate the healing required; that is one of its purposes both for the artist who creates something beautiful and meaningful out of the brokenness and for the one who responds to that creation with understanding and empathy.

Fundamentalist Christians may find Fujimura's Christianity too inclusive. For example, he draws inspiration from Matazo Kayama, who was a Nihonga master. But like those who say, "All truth is God's truth," I think Fujimura would say, "All beauty is God's beauty." Wherever the creative process is at work, making something beautiful out of broken pieces, God is also at work because God is an artist.
Refracting hope  Jun 3, 2009
Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture collects essays written by Makoto Fujimura to artists from 2004 to 2006. Living in post-9/11 New York City, Fujimura challenges artists: How does your art recognize the brokenness around you? How does your art offer hope and redemption in the midst of it?

I began this book months ago. The essays demand to be read contemplatively, even devotionally. I savored it morsel by morsel, letting each piece roll on my tongue, slide down my throat. As I digested it, it became part of me and part of my art.

Makoto leads artists toward art that recovers dignity and beauty without becoming sentimental or ignoring the hurt and brokeness of the world. In fact, the path toward beauty moves through brokenness.

He encourages artists to take the long view of their art in a time when fifteen minutes of fame, instant recognition, and "[peddling] our goods to find significance and survival" rule the art world. "Artists who labor to develop their craft, artists who are committed to a longer view of their art, suffer" (p. 142). But our art isn't for fame, recognition or even significance. It's to glorify God and offer a sacrament to this world. It is to bring God's power of resurrection to the dead.

To do this, artists need the Church to invest in them spiritually and artistically. They need the Church to walk alongside them, to hold them up, even, to support them (emotionally, spiritually, and financially). Fujimura calls for an expanded role for the Church--not just appreciating the arts and using them in their worship (although these things are good), but to train artists and encourage them.

Fujimura's writing awakens hope for the discouraged artist. And who among us is not or has not been discouraged? I read this at a time where I realized I had a choice: to take the easier (although not easy) and marketable road of art or to take the longer, sufferable road.

I choose the longer road.
Art and more.  May 14, 2009
Because I do crafts which involve creativity, I suspected that I could take away some helpful insight from Makoto Fujimura's book since he is an artist and someone who understands the creative process. He certainly does know art, but he offers much more. I enjoy learning new information as well, so it was pleasing to come away with more knowledge than I had before.

A good deal of wisdom about faith and art can be found among the collection of essays which make up this book. The author writes as beautifully as is his artwork, which makes it a bit intimidating for an average reader like me to dare comment about his writing! Take my word for it, readers will feel that they have become more cultured by exposing themselves to his thoughts presented in such an ethereal writing style.

Mr. Fujimura lives with his family in the Ground Zero area of New York City and most of the essays shared were written between 2001 through 2006. As one can imagine, the events of September 11, 2001 had a life-changing impact on him and it is apparent that he has reflected on that day often. No doubt that there will be a few essays that readers will find especially moving to them, as I did.

One note of advice I would like to give is that if a reader is unfamiliar with the definition of the word "refraction," then look up its meaning. It is a word that the author uses about once per essay, so it bodes well to know what it means in order to understand its context as the book is read. See, even before readers open the book there is potential to learn something from the title alone!

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