Akane Teshigaharas A bunch of thoughts

2016/05/06

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Vol. 95: 2016 Ghent Floralies in Belgium

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Ghent has retained its beauty and charm as a medieval town.
This third largest city of Belgium is also known for "Ghent Floralies", a flower festival held every five years with a history of over 200 years.
Since this year is the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Belgium-Japan diplomatic relations, Japan itself was the guest of honor. I was invited to create an installation and perform a demonstration, together with people of Kanazawa, which has a sister city relationship with Ghent and had installed a Japanese garden and exhibited bonsai.
 

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There were four locations of Floralies and I created my installation at Bijloke.

The theme of this site is "East Meets West".

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It's a booth with the diameter of 15 m.

 

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A lot of Sogetsu members from various places in Europe, including Belgium and the Netherlands, kindly participated in the production!

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About 400 bamboo stalks from Spain were used.

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They were slightly thinner than the Japanese bamboos and their thickness varies, but by randomly constructing split bamboo pieces of different sizes, unexpected interesting movements were formed.

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They gradually get used to splitting bamboo and making bamboo bands.

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The day after arrival at Belgium, we went to a suburb of Ghent to collect branches.

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We could cut a lot of branches in a gorgeous garden of a private residence.

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On the 3rd day, we went to the flower market in Antwerp. As always, I was really excited!

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On the 4th day, I finished the bamboo installation and did ikekomi (arranging) of large and small creations.

Finally all the works were completed!

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On the 5th day, the preparation for the demonstration sponsored by the Embassy of Japan in Belgium started.

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The lunch was self-service style sandwiches prepared by Sogetsu members. The bread was so tasty!

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On the 6th day, the official opening ceremony was held with the attendance of H.R.H. King Philippe of Belgium and H.R.H. Queen Mathilde of Belgium. They gave me very kind praise and looked at each and every work carefully.

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With Ambassador of Japan in Belgium, H.E. Mr. and Mrs. Masafumi Ishii (both ends), and Mrs. Atsuko Bersma

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Japanese garden created by the City of Kanazawa

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Installation of Mr. Daniel Ost, a renowned Belgian flower artist

On the 7th day, it's time for my demonstration.
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My interpreter was Mrs. Atsuko Bersma. For this event, she made tremendous efforts from the beginning.

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Done!

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A lighting show!

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In the finale, all the members who had helped me lined up!

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After the demonstration, I was so excited and hugged the members!

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During the reception, many people gave their impressions saying, "I didn't know ikebana is such an incredible art!"

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With Mrs. Anne-Riet Vugts-Luyten, Director of Sogetsu Branch of the Netherlands, Mrs. Ilse Beunen, Chairperson of Sogetsu Azalea Study Group, and Mrs. Atsuko Bersma

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On the 8th day, I did the workshops for the Sogetsu members from all over Europe. In total 120 members joined the morning and afternoon workshops.

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First of all, I made a sample ikebana in front of the participants. 
The theme of the morning workshop was "Composition of Straight and Curved Lines". The theme of the afternoon workshop was "Paying Attention to the Container and to the Place Where the Arrangement will be Put". 
 

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Every participant completed a high level work, which made me give comments full of enthusiasm.

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After fully utilizing their skills, the participants smiled broadly in satisfaction.

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The final 9th day came. We went for a small trip and enjoyed a pretty townscape.

This was my first visit to Belgium. Although it was a stay of only nine days, I could spend it very comfortably surrounded by beautiful nature, rich culture, and charming people.

One month passed since the terrorist attacks in Brussels but during my stay in Belgium time passed very peacefully in Ghent. I could feel that the quiet determination of people in Belgium, to overcome this dreadful tragedy by reacting calmly despite the concern and sadness in their hearts.

Also in Japan, the earthquakes in Kumamoto and Oita have caused serious damage and still a lot of people are forced to live in daily hardship.

What can ikebana do for this? What is the power of flowers? While asking myself these questions again, I will faithfully do what I can do now one by one to move in a brighter direction.

 

2016 Ghent Floralies
When: From Friday, 22 April through Sunday, 1 May 2016
From 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day
Where: 4 sites in Ghent (Citadel Park, Saint Peter’s Square, Leopold Barracks and Bijloke)
Price: 32 euro
Official website (EN / FR / NL): www.floralien.be/en

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