This research examines the extent to which Japanese cultural elements - specifically the ‘spirit’ or philosophy of traditional Japanese Raku - are retained and evidenced in contemporary artworks by non-Japanese artists/potters in Australia. It focuses on artists/potters producing creative work during the period 1990 to 2011. Unlike conventional ceramic firing approaches, which may take several days to complete, Raku is a method where work is rapidly fired and removed from the kiln when glowing hot. Raku has become popular amongst contemporary artists/potters internationally since it was introduced to the West in the 1940s. Historically, Raku referred to the spiritual, religious, philosophical, ceremonial and functional characteristics of a specific style of ceramics. The tradition of Raku in Japan was surrounded by cultural concern that strongly affected the end product.
This research is conducted in reflection of my own art practice as a ceramic artist/potter who was exposed to the Western/American style of Raku in the beginning of my career, but later experienced the making of Raku in its traditional form in Japan. Through analysis and reflection of contemporary Raku artworks together with my own art practice, this research will identify the extent to which the spirit and philosophy of original Raku either directly or indirectly influences artists/potters in their art practices and remains in the artworks. In this approach, the artists’/potters’ artworks will be analyzed as the trace of cultural interaction. This line of critical enquiry develops in relation to a body of creative work, which serves as a practice – led method of research. The findings of this research will be analyzed and will reveal new facets in the nature of cultural interaction through Raku and its development in the contemporary world that has been practiced outside its traditional form in Japan.
Khairul Nizan Mohd Aris, The University of New South Wales, Australia
Stream: Arts & Humanities
This paper is part of the ACAH2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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