Do you know what ‘gei‘ means? It means ‘art‘. A geiko is an arts person. Maiko and geiko are practitioners of traditional Japanese arts. (‘Mai‘ of maiko means ‘dance‘.) When teenage girls start out as shikomi (the first step towards becoming maiko then geiko) they learn to play instruments, sing, dance, study tea ceremony and write calligraphy. They don’t just learn basic skills and then stop. For their whole careers they refine and perfect their artistic skills. Each will find her particular artistic strength, growing and specializing in that one – just like any other artist, just like I do! Art education is lifelong and artists relentlessly strive for higher levels of understanding and achievement.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been drawing a portrait of Satsuki-san. She is the ‘young artist’ of this post. She posed for many photos at the ozashiki I attended on 27th June. I used one of the photos as reference for my drawing. It was such a pleasure to see her smiling face each day on my drawing board.
The ‘old artist’ refers to me. A short promotional film was made for my upcoming exhibition “Life is Beautiful”. If you have 2:78 minutes to spare, I invite you to view by clicking on this link, Life is Beautiful – Julie Podstolski . The film was commissioned by Elements Art Gallery and directed by Mustafa Al Mahdi; co-directed by Bonnie Stewart.
I don’t just love maiko and geiko because they have pretty faces and wear colourful costumes. There is something essential at the core of their world that I recognize. The heart of their (and my) world is the same; art.
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