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Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture
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Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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.

Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by NavPress
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A quote from Makoto Fujimura:
"Beauty often resides in the peripheries of our lives."

This was a meditative book written by an artist whose studio was just blocks away from the twin towers that were toppled during the 9/11 attack. The trauma of that event could have discouraged any sensitive soul from persevering in the work, but the hideous destruction served in this case to solidify and fan the flames of the higher call to create.

Makoto Fujimura is unabashedly Christian in his view of culture,
Amy Neftzger
This is a nice read for artists or anyone interested in the arts or how creativity can impact culture. The book is a series of short nonfiction pieces on different topics. Depending upon your stage in life, this book may have a more (or less) powerful impact on you, and each chapter may have a different level of impact because each is unique. The author makes some wonderful points and brings perspective to some of life's most painful moments and how art can be a part of the healing process.
Robert Durough, Jr.
May 07, 2014 Robert Durough, Jr. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Robert by: Makoto Fujimura
If you don’t know Makoto Fujimura, you should. Until recently, I didn’t even know of his existence; however, that all changed when a fellow scholar, art enthusiast, and friend, Jeremy McGinniss, invited me to join him and his students to a joint art lecture/presentation of “Qu4rtets” by painters Makoto Fujimura and Bruce Herman. It was a small, intimate setting, rather informal, and quite open to dialogue—not just Q&A. I felt an immediate connection to Fujimura as he spoke of culture and the ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
Makoto Fujimura has been an inspiration to me for years. In everything he writes, he manages to weave his love of culture, his love of community and his love of God into one piece. He excells in that very thing in his art too.

This book is a compilation of his thoughts on a vast range of subjects. In one entry, he is standing in line to vote in his children's former school at ground zero when he hears the man in front of him spell his name: L I B E S K I N D E. Fujimura realizes he is standing be
Derek Emerson
Makoto Fujimura is one of those rare animals — a Christian and an artist thriving in the secular world while holding firm to his faith. Born in Boston and trained in the United States, he received his MFA from Tokyo National University as a scholar in Nihonga, a Japanese-style of painting. His excellent work there earned him a chance to be the first non-Japanese citizen to take part in their lineage program. While studying, he became a committed Christian, which changed his direction in life and ...more
A personal memoir (written as blog posts and later compiled) in which he reflects on an artist's calling in our current culture/world. Inspiring, reaffirming, helpful, and thought-provoking. Would recommend for "broken, brutally honest, creative ... canaries in the cultural mines" -- one of many ways he referred to "artists" in this book. :)
What a thoughtful book. I'm currently reading a chapter of Romans and a chapter of this book each morning. As Paul lays out justification by faith, it's a nice contrast to read Mako's reflective book on art and faith and the revelation of God that is all around us if we take time to notice.
Nov 22, 2012 Jen added it
I've been using this book as part of my morning time with God. I love Fujimura's thoughts on God and the creative life. His outlook is refreshing and offers expansive ways of considering life with God.
Dean Huber
One of the most difficult books I have ever read. Not that it was bad, but his ideas and viewpoint are so deep and personal and often abstract I had a very difficult time understanding it. I often had to read chapters 2 and 3 times to even begin to understand what he was saying. Warning: he references many historical works of art and literature, so your art history and literature knowledge should be pretty thorough before you begin. There were parts I did understand and each time it felt like a ...more
Makoto Fujimura was appointed by President Bush in 2003 to the National Council on The Arts. He is a visual artist who works with light, prism and minerals to create refractions of art. After reading refractions, I am fully convinced of Fujimura’s ability as an artist and am certain of his dedication to art.

This book was a remarkable look into a creative mind that longs to capture the attention of the world through art, and yet bring glory to God.

Every chapter (or essay) reads like a devotion. I
Michelle Young
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 o ...more
Lillibet Moore
"The culture at large is neither 'Christian' nor 'secular' but fantastically pluralistic, defying conventional categorizations. In each culture we will no doubt find evidences of trauma, like the ashes of Ground Zero....We can choose to disengage from such intractable reality, as our hearts struggle to find rest in such exile ground as Hiroshima, Auschwitz, Darfur, Afghanistan, and so n. Or we can accept hte splintered condition of culture as a kaleidoscope of common struggles, a reality that on ...more
As Christians, we are called to be stewards of our culture just as much as we are called to be stewards of our environment says Fujimura. We are called to champion beautiful art and beauty in all forms--as it is a reflection of our Creator. We must value truth and beauty in an age of postmodern cynicism and ugliness. Evil is real, but our culture needs reminding that good, beauty, and truth are all real, too.
This book was a sort of artistic devotional for me. It was refreshing and encouraging to read essays about making art for God from a solid theological standpoint. Also the fact that it was written from a non-western viewpoint was good, I think it's important to incorporate and value traditions from around the world.
This book is amazing

Beautiful written and slow

HOW I NEED something in my life to be slow and beautiful.

I was so reflective and peaceful while I meditated on the stories.

At times repetitive (my only beef) A delight for the soul.
One of my all-time favorites. It is really a book of meditations- and you can't help but join him. Written after Fujimura experienced 9/11 from just a couple blocks away, it's somber, yet it teaches you all about grace.
This book for me has been a nice read compared to the theory I have to read in art school. Almost all the art theory in college is not Christian and this has given me hope to be a Christian artist in 2012.
Nice essay collection. To my pleasure, it was more on the culture of art than the nuts and bolts of it. If I had a nickel for every time Fujimura mentioned 9/11, though...I'd have a lot of money.
David Hoos
I enjoyed it. I feel like I know the author a little better, but I'm not sure he was really delivering a single thesis on anything. I guess 'journey' is a good way to put it.
Daniel Jr.
I've taught it several times at the 100 level, and it works well with this group, esp. within the Christian liberal arts college context. Thoughtful and accessible.
G.T. Anders
I probably shouldn't rate this, since I didn't finish it. But I found his perspective enlightening. This is a guy who sees connections between everything.
Alexandra Eshenbaugh
I absolutely love this! The way he words his thoughts is art. God has used him in a great way and I look forward to see how much more in the future.
The hopeful treatment of art and culture in light of the gospel is so inspiring.
Prudence Chan
Provoking, empowering... simply beautiful.
This is a must-read.
R.L. Haas
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