Ok, so this title may be a bit fanciful. But it does relate to something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, and that’s Kintsugi. Translated as “golden joinery”, Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of repairing what has been broken. Lacquer dusted with powdered gold is used to repair a dropped ceramic bowl, leaving the scars not only visible, but enhanced and shining with gold. Because every ceramic item shatters differently, each piece is unique. It is a philosophy which treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object rather than something to disguise. The broken object becomes a symbol of fragility, strength and beauty.
Kintsugi is often seen as a metaphor for life. We live in a perfection obsessed world, but instead of hiding our challenges we can accept and slowly overcome them. When faced with life’s ups and downs, Kintsugi teaches us that we can piece ourselves back together. We can acknowledges that it is often our scars that make us stronger and more interesting, while at the same time retaining an awareness of our own fragility.
I was thinking about some of this as I created ‘We are golden’. Although it isn’t pieced together from broken elements, it does have many layers of history beneath the final layer, which all add to its story. Like a Kintsugi bowl, I hope it conveys both fragility and strength.
“We are golden” 120 x 90cm. Mixed media on canvas.