Alibi V.28 No.13 • March 28-April 3, 2019 

Art Magnified

The Art of the Living Flower

Annual Hanami Celebration and Ichiyo Ikebana Exhibition

Cherry blossoms bloom in the Albuquerque Bio Park.
Cherry blossoms bloom in the Albuquerque Bio Park.
Photo by Clarke Condé

As the last remnants of snow fade from view on the Sandias, Albuquerque turns to the approaching spring. A naturally perfumed moment of reflection before the impending heat and din of swamp coolers fills the soon-to-be under construction streets of our fair city. What I am talking about is flowers. Albuquerque has them, and this weekend offers the opportunity to take them in with two art forms that reflect the temporary nature of blossoming beauty.

The first is the Ichiyo Ikebana exhibition Picnic Under the Blossoms at the ABQ BioPark this Saturday and Sunday. For those unfamiliar with the Japanese art form ikebana, the name means “living flowers,” and as Albuquerque’s own master ikebana teacher Mary Burnett de Gomez describes, “It is flower arranging, but not like Westerners think of flower arranging. It is art.” Indeed, it is a contemplative practice with roots hundreds of years old. Burnett de Gomez says, “It is bringing a bit of nature into your own environment.”

Ikebana by Mary Burnett de Gomez.
Ikebana by Mary Burnett de Gomez.
courtesy of the artist

Burnett de Gomez brings her students from the Albuquerque Chapter Ichiyo School of Ikebana to the BioPark to share what is as much process as product. “Some people think of it (ikebana) as moving mediation. I have a lot of students that are techies like medical people, attorneys and engineers who really don’t have much of an opportunity to just sit down and enjoy something very beautiful, quiet and meditative. They take classes because they enjoy detaching from their work.”

It is the temporary nature of ikebana that is just as much part of the process and the result. “Part of the beauty of it is learning to let go,” says Burnett de Gomez. “Like the cherry blossoms, it is going to go away in a very short time.”

Prefer passivity? The BioPark also celebrates spring with their annual Hanami celebration. You’ve never had art so easy as when you engage in the art of hanami or flower viewing. Done properly, you simply bring a picnic and view the cherry blossoms contemplatively. Take a moment to think about the change in seasons, what spring means to you and then have a snack. Soon spring will have moved into summer, the cherry blossoms will have gone away and you will be on the roof trying to figure out where the swamp cooler is leaking.

Annual Hanami Celebration and
Ichiyo Ikebana Exhibition
Saturday March 30,10am to 5pm
ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden
Free with BioPark admission.
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