It’s been a joy to learn about Anita Kagaya’s art (which you can find on Instagram under the handle @caolous). In this images post, Anita graciously tells us a little bit about herself, she shares what inspires her to create, and she offers some words of encouragement to emerging artists. I love her answers and I hope you will too!
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am half Japanese, half Kiwi and grew up in China. I currently work and live in New Zealand. After graduating university with a conjoint in a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in psychology & Asian Studies) and Fine Arts, I served in the House of Worship in New Delhi for one month. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to COVID-19.
Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little about your art?
I have always loved creating art since I was a child. More recently, I have found it a useful way to meditate and reflect on my thoughts and feelings. I create a lot of repetitive artwork and patterns, which let my mind wander to explore freely, without needing to overthink or plan every step.
I find it calming and helpful to use art as a medium to connect deeper with my soul. When I am in the flow, it helps detach myself from the worries of the future, the negativities of life, and helps me see the world in a positive light. Art has definitely helped me come to terms with some tough lessons of life, as I find a way to express my feelings through paint.
Baha’i Blog: What inspires you to create?
After I started applying Baha’i principles, values and concepts into my art, I’ve found that I have a constant flow of energy in wanting to create more. Most recently, I have been creating and selling paintings of nine-pointed stars, and am working on collating my book which will be a collection of Baha’i prayers and writings with illustrations alongside them.
Abdul’Baha said, “It is natural for the heart and spirit to take pleasure and enjoyment in all things that show forth symmetry, harmony, and perfection. For instance: a beautiful house, a well designed garden, a symmetrical line, a graceful motion, a well written book, pleasing garments—in fact, all things that have in themselves grace or beauty are pleasing to the heart and spirit…”
It is the Baha’i concept of beauty that inspires me to try and create spiritually uplifting artwork. In a world where there are so many negative forces, it is important for me to create work that encapsulates what beauty is to me. This is often the symmetry of shapes and lines, the unity of colours, and the mindfulness that is put into the creation of a piece. I am inspired to have Baha’i and spiritual art in our homes in a practical way. We are constantly surrounded by different pop-bands, fashion trends, cars, and decorations in our daily lives. By immersing ourselves with more meaningful artwork, it encourages us to live a more mindful, coherent and balanced life on a daily basis. Instead of spiritual art being something that is put on a pedestal out of reach, I would like to integrate it into a part of our daily lives.
Baha’i Blog: What are some words of encouragement you might offer other emerging Baha’i artists?
Abdul-Baha says,”What bestowal could be greater than this, that one’s art should be even as the act of worshipping the Lord? That is to say, when thy fingers grasp the paint brush, it is as if thou wert at prayer in the Temple.”
As individuals on earth, we have different ways of expressing our creative side, and it is uplifting to know that the act of creating art can be of worship! In a world where so many different values and ideals exist, it is important to stay true to ourselves and our values, to understand the influence and magnitude that our creative endeavours can have on other people, our community and the world as a whole.
The Guardian says that art “can better awaken such noble sentiments than cold rationalizing, especially among the mass of the people.”
The arts have a way of connecting to people’s hearts, and I believe it is a blessing that we will enjoy. I am constantly looking forward to and trying to imagine what “Baha’i art” will look like in the future world.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Anita, for taking the time to share this with us!
You can find out all about Anita and her art on her website: anitakagaya.com
You can also follow Anita’s art on Instagram: www.instagram.com/caolous
And on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KeiKreative/
Lastly, you can check out her virtual shop on Etsy:
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