Kyoto Culture

Fushimi-Ku

In the Fushimi Ward of Kyoto City, one will find the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, which has a long history and is the best place to see torii gates. Torii gates are traditionally found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, and symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred. The beautiful red color exemplifies vitality and protection against evil.

The history of this shrine can be traced to the year 711, and grew to importance in the Edo period during the 17th and 18th centuries, as a prospering economic nation. The Inari shrines became a place for Japanese merchants to communicate their prayers for successful businesses’ so; the Inari people donated funds for the construction of torii gates along the paths from the main shrine’s buildings to the top of Mount Inari.

Another symbol of the shrine are the numerous statues of foxes, which are regarded as the messengers of Inari, these statues often hold a key in their mouths. And, after hiking through forest to the top of the mountain, you are extremely aware of leaving the daily grind behind, allowing you to enjoy your natural surroundings.

Breathe deeply and enjoy,
Kathleen

Trace at Hirshhorn

Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn
Independence Avenue & 7th
 Street, SW
Washington, DC 20560

The retrospective exhibition Trace was an incredible installation that portrayed individuals from around the world who are considered activists; advocates for free speech or prisoners of conscience. The works that were on display have now left the Hirshhorn.

The provocative Chinese artist Ai Weiwei promotes human rights and free expression in a Communist society. And, who better to portray such repressed or persecuted individuals than

On the floor of the Hirshhorn are 176 portraits comprised of LEGO bricks of those who have been detained, incarcerated or sought political asylum.

Ai Weiwei uses an eclectic range of media when creating a political point; LEGO,  film, paintings, sculptures and architecture.

Enjoy,
K