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An Interview with Shima

By: Julio Barthson

Date Posted: 1999-12-17

JAPAN UPDATE: What is your most important source of inspiration?

TAKESHI SHIMA: My inspiration comes from the beauty of every natural thing that surrounds me. Nature nurtures my art and controls my mind at all times. The beautiful landscapes of Okinawa and places I have been to on mainland Japan all influence my work. Nature has been such a good master for me since I was a child, that I am now completely immersed in it.

JU: Are you referring to Neo-Animism, a form of belief to which you claim to be linked?

T.S.: Yes, in a sense, Mother Earth and Nature are a part of my soul. Itís more than just a belief. Itís like I have a spiritual message every time I communicate with nature. I feel so close to those things which many people cannot always see with their eyes or hear with their ears, but which come from a source that we as humans canít always exactly define. All creatures have souls, even trees and clay. Thatís why I live in this very quiet corner, surrounded by trees and breeze, waking up every morning with the sun. Thereís a great spiritual presence and supernatural power in all these natural things.

JU: You have not been at any major exhibitions for along time. Are you planning anything next year, in light of the upcoming G-8 Summit?

T.S.: No. I donít intend to come out of my world that soon... I am thinking of something for the Year 2001. I donít participate in exhibitions just for the sake of it. I am a philosophical potter. The last time I did it was in June 1993 here in Okinawa. Before that, I had participated in a unique occasion in Tokyo that brought together 21 exceptional artists from the whole of Japan. I was the only one from Okinawa. I have not yet decided anything about the G-8 Summit though. I have received all the necessary information about the event, but Iím still waiting to see if I can contribute in any manner.

JU: Why donít you sell your works in local art shops?

T.S.: Because I have decided to create only out of inspiration and on special order for knowledgeable art collectors. I combine all my experiences and spiritual motivation to create unique pieces. Those who want them come here when theyíve heard about me or seen my work somewhere else. Mine are solely collectorsí items, and authentic Okinawan art deep-rooted in ancient tradition.

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