News & Stories
February 1, 2023

Berry welcomes leading contemporary artist Makoto Fujimura

Berry College welcomes the art of leading contemporary artist Makoto Fujimura to The Martha Berry Museum in conjunction with his Cecil B. Wright III Integrity in Leadership Lecture.

The exhibit opens Wednesday (Feb. 1) and runs through April 15 and admission is free.

Fujimura’s process driven, refractive “slow art” has been described by the New York Times as “a small rebellion against the quickening of time.”

Fujimura began the “Waterflames” series after becoming a survivor of Sept. 11, 2001 and “Ground Zero” resident, as his daily effort to turn flames of destruction into flames of sanctification. The “Walking on Water” series also began as an elegy to the victims of March 11, 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, to ask the question, “can we walk on water?” Additional Fujimura pieces are featured to capture a comprehensive nature of his art.  

Fujimura notes that these works integrate the language of Japanese art of 16th to 17th Century with the modernist works of Mark Rothko and Arshile Gorky, together into a contemporary expression. Nihonga (Japanese-style painting using pulverized minerals and gold and silver) materials are transmuted into contemporary expression of Fujimura’s as “slow art”. For the viewer, his works require slowing down to truly see the refractive, prismatic colors in over 100 layers of paint in some of the surfaces.  

“The opportunity to engage with Fujimura’s paintings in person allows the viewer to appreciate the movement and transformative surface of the canvas, thanks to his deft use of the Nihonga technique. "Waterflames and Walking on Water" is one exhibit you do not want to miss," said Rachel McLucas, curator of Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum.

Also on view is “New Creation,” a documentary film produced by the Fujimuras discussing their respective pursuits of making beauty and seeking justice.  Haejin Shim Fujimura is the managing partner of Shim & Associates, P.C. and the CEO of Embers International, Inc. They work together to connect creation of beauty with bringing justice into the world to end human trafficking. This powerful film was created by the award-wining filmmakers at Windrider in partnership with Embers International, IAMCultureCare, Academy Kintsugi, and Culture Care Creative.

In addition to the exhibit, Fujimura will speak March 23 at 6 p.m. in the College Chapel as part of the Cecil B. Wright III Integrity in Leadership Lecture. In his lecture, “A Kintsugi Journey: A Theology of Making,” Fujimura will discuss how beauty emerges from brokenness and the common call we have to create beauty and bring justice.

And on March 24 at 5 p.m. at the Christopher Browning Pavilion at Oak Hill, Makoto Fujimura and his wife, Haejin Shim Fujimura, will conduct a seminar, “Beauty + Justice.”

As a presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003-2009, Fujimura served as an international advocate for the arts, speaking with decision makers and advising governmental policies on the arts. In 2014, the American Academy of Religion named him its “2014 Religion and the Arts” award recipient. Fujimura is also the recipient of the 2023 Kuyper Prize. He has had numerous museum exhibits including Tikotin Museum in Israel and Gonzaga Jundt Museum.

Educated bi-culturally between the U.S. and Japan, he graduated from Bucknell University and received an M.F.A. from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music with a Japanese Governmental Scholarship. His thesis painting was purchased by the university, and he was invited to study in the Japanese Painting Doctorate program. More info can be found at

For additional exhibit information call the museum at 706.368.6789 or email

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