Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect – Richard Powell
Happy New Year is still in order as it has only been 18 days since the crossover into the new year 2021.
We are all still recovering from the dreadful events of the last year. But within the imperfections of that uniquely stressful year lay an abundance of beauty; babies were born from increased together time spent by couples as a result of the worldwide lockdown, the long overdue restitution of art artifacts from the West to Africa was initiated, new billionaires emerged, countless marriage proposals were said yes to (consequently million more babies are in the works) and a preventive vaccine against the corona virus was created, amongst other wins.
Wabi sabi is a Japanese philosophy that embraces the beauty and appreciation of things imperfect and impermanent: accepting the flow of life. It is simply the art of imperfect beauty, an acceptance of things as they are now.
Leonard Koen in his book “Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers”, describes wabi-sabi as: ‘…the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete, the antithesis of our classical western notion of beauty as something perfect, enduring and monumental.”
The past year has helped us realize that the grind can come to a halt suddenly and life really isn’t to be rushed or skimmed, and now more than ever, we must change our outlook to life and see things differently. It has become imperative for us as creatives to deviate from the millennial ideal of perfection as the ultimate reality and embrace the centuries old concept of wabi sabi; that beauty lies in imperfection.
Though the concept of wabi-sabi has overtime become more popular in aesthetics design, it can be applied to every area of life. As the craze for perfection rages and mental health issues rise, it is fitting for us to take time to appreciate the great beauty that lies in our struggles as well as our successes. For us creatives, our minds remain our most valuable tool and after the last year, we can neither afford to sweat the small nor the big stuff and we must take time to accept the beauties of our journeys however imperfect, simply because in our incomplete/imperfect pieces, lie a unique kind of beauty.
Wabi-sabi is about cultivating authenticity, artistry and valuing imperfection. To make clear, wabi-sabi does not justify or promote slacking, as grace is one of its ideals amongst other such concepts as understated beauty, unpretentiousness, freeness and tranquillity.
Soetsu Yanagi in his book “The Unknown Craftsman”, suggests that imperfections are necessary for a full appreciation of the object and the world. Thus, it stands to reason that our journeys as artists will be fuller and richer if we refrain from constantly putting ourselves under the pressure to be perfect. We thus would be able to succeed by growing in imperfections even as we embrace seasonal growth.
We at Kurating hope that in this new year, you get to appreciate the beauty in your struggles and not just your successes in 2021. So have a great year knowing that you are capable of great works even with your flaws, scars and stuff.
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