Head to Whistler to Immerse Yourself in the World of Japanese Artist, Manabu Ikeda

Head up the Sea-to-Sky for an immersive experience centred around the art of Japanese artist Manabu Ikeda’s recently opened Flowers From The Wreckage at the Audain Art Museum – but give yourself a little extra time to really take it in.

Curated by Kiriko Watanabe, this exhibition marks Manabu Ikeda’s first solo show in North America, and includes over sixty pieces sourced from national and international collections, including “Foretoken” (2008), “Meltdown” (2013), and “Rebirth” (2013-16) – drawings that poignantly both prophecise and reflect on the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which stands as the most catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power disaster in Japan’s documented history.

Renowned for his thorough attention to minutiae, Ikeda’s large format pen-and-ink drawings serve as gateways into complex and creative realms. From a distance, Ikeda’s works often depict elements of nature – a forest, a tree, a wave, a tide pool – but look closer and entire worlds unfold. A tree reveals villages hidden within its branches; beneath a wave are worlds of wreckage left behind by a tsunami. As The Audain explains: “Through his everyday observations, this Japanese artist renders entangled fragments to create a spectacular whole that prompts viewers to look deeply into his visual expression.” Layers are not just visual, but philosophical, emotional and intellectual conversations. Messages within messages – this is art that takes time to absorb.

Thankfully, The Audain has an awareness and respect for the process of engaging with art, and apart from Ikeda’s exhibition itself, the Art Museum has invested considerable thought to into developing programming designed to further allow for processing in different ways and at different speeds. Here are a few of the events that you can (and should) factor into your experience of Flowers from the Wreckage:

Artist Dinner Series

This unique dining event provides guests not only with after-hours access to the exhibition, guided by a dedicated tour guide, but also the rare chance to share a table with Artist, Manabu Ikeda, the Museum’s Director and Chief Curator, Dr. Curtis Collins, or the Exhibition Curator, Kiriko Watanabe.

Tickets are selling rapidly for the remaining summer dates (July 21st and August 11 & 25th). Each ticket includes a cocktail reception, a six-course Omakase-style Japanese menu with accompanying wine and sake pairings, masterfully crafted by Chef Koji Chiba. The highlight of the event is an exclusive tour of Flowers From The Wreckage, featuring personal insights from the artist.

Artist Observation + Workshops

The museum has arranged a studio where visitors can observe Ikeda as he crafts his newest piece live. You can catch the artist in action on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 3-4:30pm, up until August 30th.

Interested in rolling up your sleeves for a deeper understanding of Ikeda’s artistry? The museum has organized pen-and-ink drawing classes for both adults and children. Be quick to secure your spot, as spaces are filling up rapidly. Find more details on the museum’s website here.

Flowers From The Wreckage is an extraordinary artistic experience. With its carefully curated selection of artworks, the exhibition showcases Ikeda’s exceptional talent and intricate narratives – compelling in their own right as stunning works of art – but this show also acts as a catalyst to dialogue about global warming, human connection and nature. Complemented by the Artist Dinner Series, some cool workshops, and a chat with the artist himself, this event offers a chance for a deep dive into Ikeda’s craft. A really interesting and immersive experience for anyone who digs art! Have a look at the gallery below for a window on to what you can expect, and then reserve your space before events are sold out.

The Audain Art Museum is open Thursday to Monday, 11am – 6pm. Details on the dinner series can be found here. Exhibition details here.

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