LIKU MARIA TAKAHASHI
Liku Maria Takahashi is a Japanese painter, sculptor, designer, art theorist and educator, and martial artist. She is also the President of the World Diversity Art Society. Her artistic research mainly focused on sculpture until 2008.
In 2009 she invented the Maris method, developed to make paintings accessible to people with visual impairment, and also enable them to enjoy painting.
In 2010 she started the Maris Art Project and in 2012 she developed the Maris National Flag Project, which, along with other touring exhibitions and workshops, Takahashi has introduced people around the world to Maris art.
She has been invited to join the XIIth Florence Biennale as a guest artist of honour to exhibit her artworks and engage a wider audience in her vision of the world.
She declares that ‘In philosophical terms, Maris creates encounters whereby painting sows the seeds of understanding’.
THE MARIS METHOD
Maris is the world’s first painting method designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their visual ability and age. The texture of a Maris work, made with sand of different coarseness and scents, enables blind people to ‘see’ the colours and shapes depicted.
Ten levels of colour brightness are defined by as many sand grain sizes in the Maris World Standard Table: the coarser the grain is, the darker is the tone of the relevant colour. Moreover, each hue is associated with a specific scent.
For simplicity, the Maris method does not express saturation, which however accounts for colour information. Once the simple rules of the Maris World Standard Table have been learned, anyone can start enjoying painting with this method.
THE MARIS NATIONAL FLAG PROJECT
Launched on the day of the closing ceremony of the London olympics, in August 2012, this project consists of a number of hands-on workshops offering children and adults an opportunity to learn the technique and concept of the Maris Method in an easy and enjoyable way.
Participants work together to create Maris paintings of national flags of a country other than their own. As they form the picture, they are encouraged to wish for happiness to the people of the country in question.
Liku Maria Takahashi aims to complete all 196+1 national flags of the world, including the Refugee Nation flag created for the contingent of refugees who competed in the 2016 olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To date, some 120 flag pictures have been created at 39 workshops held around the world.
The workshop to be held within the framework of the XIIth Florence Biennale will be the 40th. To mark that occasion, the national flags of all artists participating in the biennial will be made and displayed.
CHANGE THE WORLD
On the occasion of the XIIth Florence Biennale Liku Takahashi will expose Change the World painted entirely with the Maris technique.
This work shows the full-size image of a woman, winged like an angel, with the features of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Aside from the symbolic elements in the composition, attention should be drawn to some important aspects of the Maris technique.
Choosing to depict Mona Lisa has allowed her to explain to visually impaired people the difference between painting marked by sharp outlines and the sfumato technique, for which Leonardo is credited.
Paintings with crisp lines are relatively easy for visually impaired people to decipher, unlike those made with the sfumato technique, whereby the artist uses soft transitions of colour to define the image, thus bluring its borders.
Takahashi wishes make all visually impaired people experience the nature of sfumato, and understand this important development in the history of art so that they may enjoy paintings even more.
Liku Maria Takahashi will conduct a workshop for the visitors of the Florence Biennale 2019, specifically for children (8-12 years old).
The workshop will take place every day, throughout the entire event.