As part of The Art Miles Mural Project, the Japan Art Miles high school team created this mural as a tribute to Masa Shiwaku, photographer and friend
Masa Shiwaku was friend to many, a Japanese medical researcher, photographer and poet, who lost his life doing what he loved, communing with the sky and clouds, scaling the peaks of the mountains of his beloved earth.
This mural was made by high school students who knew Masa and wish to honor him with respect and love. The students spent 8 days with Masa in Indonesia in 2008 for Japan Art Mile's celebration of 50 years of friendship between Japan and Indonesia. Though these students only knew Masa for a short time, they were greatly impressed by his way of living and thinking as well as his gentle and generous nature.
The artists pray that Masa's soul will know peace in heaven and that he will watch over them with the eyes of the sun, a symbol of the universe. They pray that he knows joy with his heavenly companions as he knew joy with the friends and family who miss him here on earth. And they ask for Masa's prayers for all living things to exist in harmony, that they may know the love he brought to so many with his friendship and kindness.
The intent of the artists is that this mural will remind the viewer that our earth is the only known living planet. It is their hope that this art will inspire the viewer to contemplate PEACE and LOVE and in so-doing, add their thoughts and prayers to the countless others envisioning enlightened, positive change for all mankind.
The following is a letter from Margaret, a friend and co-worker of Masa's:
Even though I only met Masa Shiwaku a few times, his extraordinary spirit made quite a memorable impression. He was so open to the whole world, having visited more than 60 countries. The first time I met him was at the proposal dinner. He had just come back from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and he told me how wonderful it was to watch the sunrise on top of the mountain on Christmas morning- his soul was very open to the beauty and wonders of life and he was not a person to let an experience pass him by- he understood that life is to be lived now, each moment is to be treasured. The next time I met him, he was helping his co-worker find his way, and I could really see their deep friendship. That was one of his best gifts, his love of life. I think his attitude was different from many people in that he wasn't afraid of new things or failure, he openly embraced challenges and encouraged other people to take risks and not just live a safe, ordinary life. Even though he lived less than 30 years, I think he experienced more life than many people after 80 or 90 years. It is always painful when we lose such a great, kind spirit, especially so unexpectedly, it feels like a hole has been torn into your soul. But because he shared his kindness and love of life with us, as long as we honor this, he will never be lost. If we remember the lessons he taught us, he is still with us. We should realize that every day is a treasure and there is wonder and joy all around us and that the world is completely open to us if we choose to embrace it.