On September 11, 2001, Makoto Fujimura was attending an artists' prayer meeting in Uptown Manhattan when he heard of an accident at the Twin Towers, three blocks from where he lived with his family. Jumping on the subway toward his home, he found himself stuck underground, incommunicado for the next two hours while hell broke out in the streets above. He finally emerged to smoke and ash and a flood of fleeing workers. Running against the tide, he reached his studio ten blocks north of Ground Zero, where he found his wife and learned that his three children were safe, covered with ash but spared.

In the weeks that followed, only residents were allowed into the area near Ground Zero. Fujimura found himself talking with shell-shocked neighbors over endless cups of coffee. Many were artists. "There were candles popping up everywhere [as impromptu memorials]. We wanted to do something, too, temporary, authentic, broken, revealing where we were." For Fujimura, those conversations deepened thoughts that had begun with the Columbine disaster. "What is it that we have to deal with, this dehumanized reality that we are living in? What is the role of imagination in that?" One response was TriBeCa Temporary, a space Fujimura created in which local artists could create experimentally to restore wholeness.

Fujimura creates large, shimmering abstract paintings using a traditional Japanese technique called Nihonga. At the age of 13, his family moved from Tokyo to New Jersey, where his father, a linguistic scientist, worked at the storied Bell Labs. "Mako," as Fujimura is known, attributes some of his love of visual communication to the frustration he felt learning English from scratch. Returning to Japan for graduate studies in fine arts, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
For the Love of Lit Subscriber Access Only
Meritt Sawyer and friends revive the value of family and the printed page.
RecommendedTim Keller Stepping Down as Redeemer Senior Pastor
Tim Keller Stepping Down as Redeemer Senior Pastor
The influential Reformed leader is moving away from his NYC pulpit as his church becomes three.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
Ben Sasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
The Nebraska senator wants parents to get serious about shepherding kids into responsible adulthood.
Christianity Today
Re-Imagining Reality
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.