Ariasa Takahashi (Painter)


English | Japanese

Arisa was born in 1972 in Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyushu, among the ocean and mountains and four seasons of beautiful nature. She preferred spending time in this big nature rather than being with other children.

She spent a lot of time alone and was attracted to ancient ruins while her parents both worked. She used to write poems and draw motifs of ancient ruins and loved reading. She joined an art club in high school where she won the Mayor's Prize for an acrylic painting of the Parthenon in Greece.

After graduating from high school, she left Kyushu and worked for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department for about 8 years. At a sensitive age she experienced various human dramas up close, such as crackdowns on illegal drugs and prostitution.

“What is it to live?”

All humans have the same appearance, but we are at the mercy of fate depending on different environments and factors we experience. When she realized this, she decided to get married to build her own life at the age of 26 and left the Metropolitan Police Department. She had two children in her 20s. Through the experience of raising her children, she learned about organic food, aromatherapy, and alternative natural remedies. Looking deeply into these things, she realized that most things circulating in our modern society are overwhelmingly not good for our health and mind, so she changed her lifestyle to use more organic products.

She experienced a sudden turning point when she was 35. Her uncle, who was 55 years old, was in the last stage of cancer. The doctor diagnosed him to live for six months, but he passed away in just two months. She and her family grieved deeply, and she learned that "people will always die as long as we are alive", and found that there is a death care industry.

She got such a job at 36 years old, and through doing this work on a daily basis and sending off those people who depart from this world, she realized that discovering how to spend life is her mission in life, so she worked the best she could for 7 and a half years. She sent about 1000 people to their final resting place, and during this time the “3.11” tragedy occurred and the movie “Departures/Okuribito” won the Japanese academy award - even though “death” was hateful and taboo for Japanese people in general. She was interviewed as a female mortician by Asahi newspaper, and the article was not only in the newspaper in Japan but also in published in the Asahi Herald Tribune in English.

She saw the feelings of people who had to leave their life and the feelings of those left behind, and every time she faced it, she started to think that in not avoiding death but rather having our sights firmly fixed on death, we can begin to realize real life. Even though it was only 7 and a half years, she came to think that death and life are not opposite things. It is more like living truly requires an understanding of death. This allows us to finally live.

Arisa had a variety of experiences, such as jobs, getting married, having children, child-raising, changing jobs, and getting divorced. And now her children have become independent from her. She got into Mandala Art which she found four and a half years ago because it changed her mind from a mono color world in the death care industry to a colorful art world. Through Mandala Art the passion for color that she had inside herself during childhood spoke to her five senses. Mandala Art is usually vague and uses darker tones of color, but her way of looking at Mandala Art is valued by her friends, reminding them of sand mandala of Tibetan Buddhism.

When you draw Mandala, it should be symmetrical and well balanced and always coming back to the center. The fixed axis is expressing the importance of burning life through individual colour. Arisa is not only an artist drawing by herself but also one of the Japanese Mandala Art facilitators, holding workshops where everyone can draw Mandala Art easily in Japan. And of course she will travel the world in the future to display the colourful figures in this damaged world and for life travelers who are searching for the center of their souls.

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