Raku is an internationally known process in the production of pottery. It is also the family name of the Japanese dynasty that for 16 consecutive generations has pioneered the use of this process and an appreciation of the accompanying aesthetics. For over 450 years this continuing evolution has raised Raku ceramics to an art form far beyond their original function as tea ceremony wares. Raku Kichizaemon XV·Jikinyu (b. 1949) is the fifteenth generation of the family. With an outward-looking approach, he has created an entirely new visual language, a radical conceptual reinterpretation of this traditional art form. Following a visit to Qatar in 2018, Raku was inspired to create a body of work that incorporated sands and minerals from the Qatari desert into the body and glazes of a series of tea bowls. The artist forms the tea bowls by hand, carves them, and fires them at a low temperature. He then applies designs with glaze and re-fires the pieces, one at a time, in a ceremonial kiln. In the words of the artist, these artworks represent the land, desert, light, and sea of old and new Qatar. They encapsulate the nature and universe that unites Qatar as a whole and the hope and life embraced by the Qatari people.
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