Makoto Fujimura, recently appointed as the Director of the Culture Care Initiative at the Brehm Center at Fuller Theological Seminary, is an artist, writer, and speaker who is recognized worldwide as a cultural shaper. A Presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003-2009, Fujimura served as an international advocate for the arts, speaking with decision makers and advising governmental policies on the arts. In 2014, the American Academy of Religion named Makoto Fujimura as its ’2014 Religion and the Arts’ award recipient. This award is presented annually to an artist, performer, critic, curator, or scholar who has made a significant contribution to the understanding of the relations among the arts and the religions, both for the academy and for a broader public. Previous recipients of the award include Meredith Monk, Holland Carter, Gary Snyder, Betye & Alison Saar and Bill Viola.
Fujimura’s work is represented by Artrue International and has been exhibited at galleries around the world, including Dillon Gallery in New York, Sato Museum in Tokyo, The Contemporary Museum of Tokyo, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts Museum, Bentley Gallery in Arizona, Gallery Exit and Oxford House at Taikoo Place in Hong Kong, and Vienna’s Belvedere Museum. He is one of the first artists to paint live on stage at New York City’s legendary Carnegie Hall as part of an ongoing collaboration with composer and percussionist Susie Ibarra.
A popular speaker, he has lectured at numerous conferences, universities and museums, including the Aspen Institute, Yale and Princeton Universities, Sato Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum. Fujimura founded the International Arts Movement in 1992, a non-profit whose “Encounter” conferences have featured cultural catalysts such as Dr. Elaine Scarry, Dennis Donoghue, Billy Collins, Dana Gioia, Calvin DeWitt and Miroslav Volf.
In 2009, Crossway Publishing commissioned Fujimura for The Four Holy Gospels project to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the publishing of the King James Bible. It was the first time that a single artist had been commissioned to illuminate the four Gospels in nearly five hundred years. The Gospels were on exhibition at the Museum of Biblical Art in Manhattan in 2011, and in Takashimaya, Nihonbashi, Tokyo, until December, 2011. The Four Holy Gospels consist of five major frontispieces, 89 chapter heading letters and over 140 pages of hand illumined pages, all done in traditional Nihonga. Currently, The Four Holy Gospels original art is featured at the “Four Holy Gospels Chapel” at the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C..
In 2011 the Fujimura Institute was established and launched the Four Qu4rtets, a collaboration between Fujimura, painter Bruce Herman, Duke theologian/pianist Jeremy Begbie, and Yale composer Christopher Theofanidis, based on T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. The exhibition has travelled to Baylor, Duke, and Yale Universities, Gordon College and other institutions around the globe.
Fujimura is also an author of several books including River Grace (Poiema Press, 2008), and Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture (NavPress, 2009), and Culture Care (Fujimura Institute, 2014). In 2016, Fujimura released Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering (IVPress), an autobiographical journey into Shusaku Endo’s Silence. Fujimura acted as a special advisor to the major motion picture by Martin Scorsese based on Endo’s Silence.
Bucknell University honored him with the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2012.
He is a recipient of four Doctor of Arts Honorary Degrees; from Belhaven University in 2011, Biola University in 2012, Cairn University in 2014 and Roanoke College, in February 2015.