Fine Art : Animism Ⅰ Sacred Trees

Artist Statement

People in Japan have, since ancient times, held a belief toward natural creations, such as trees, rocks, and water as the resting place of Gods.  The giant trees and ancient trees we see today have survived various natural disasters, and people have worshiped them as extraordinary living things reflecting their appreciation and thoughts in various ways.

When I visited historical shrines and temples, I realized a flow of culture that contributed to the building of shrine pavilions and shrine gates around natural creations over a period of time, ranging from centuries to millennia, with the progress of architectural technology.  Perhaps, since long before people started having a concept of forming countries, underlying thoughts that Gods and Animistic Spirits were resting in natural world exited not only in Japan but across the globe where ancient Animism and Sharmanism had been practiced.  This belief eventually merged into people’s daily lives and played an active part in them.  Trees were the symbol of resting places for Gods and Spirits, which served as people’s spiritual comfort.  Rocks were the symbol of eternity, which also revitalized people’s spirits.  Water was the source of all life, which also cleansed and purified things and minds of people.  Rain was the symbol of God’s blessing, and people were thankful.  Thunder was the sign of wrath of God, and people looked back and reflected on what they had done in the past.  As such, it shows how natural phenomena and the existence of God and Sprit were closely connected in ancient times.  Ancient people created a lifestyle culture where they paid respect to the nature as a whole and performed a number of important tasks in their daily life.

Such belief must have been a foundation for our ancient culture which contributed to an evolution and formation of many distinctive cultures at present time.  I also realized that we now have less opportunity to feel thankful for nature, hence wide range of living organisms are slowly disappearing, It may be the time for us to move the time backwards to re-think the ancient people’s way of respecting nature for our ever-lasting evolution.

I am expressing spiritual essence of nature through my photographs by illuminating those natural creations which are the oldest living organisms on the planet.  I created the Animism Series for my audiences to feel the warmth of the nature and see exciting world of brightly lit illusion.  I hope they feel nostalgic about ancient life culture where natural creations and blessings were all appreciated.  I have taken advantage of the expressive capacities of photography for my audience to explore the mysterious world of nature though the works of Animism Series.





Ⅰ:  Sacred Trees