Saturday, 14 February 2015

Revised Eligibility to Participate


We are pleased to announce that a small change has been made in our eligibility to participate in Ikebana Gallery Award. Following has been added in our FAQ page

Q: In my country there is no Ikebana teacher. We have no opportunity to learn Ikebana officially. We are still studying Ikebana under the guidance of our leader who has studied Ikebana but is not officially qualified to teach. Can we participate in your competition?
A: Yes.

We appreciate your passion for Ikebana under such a difficult condition. It is not easy to study Ikebana without following official courses set by recognised schools of Ikebana. Certain things can be passed only through face to face teaching. Our committee as well as our judges can almost always recognise whether you are studying Ikebana officially or not by looking at your work.

Importantly, however, our goal is to support Ikebana students all around the world indiscriminately. By Ikebana students we mean those who study it officially as well as unofficially. We welcome your submission to this award. We came to this decision for three reasons.

First, those who are studying Ikebana unofficially can bring something new to the competition. Consequently, we all may get inspiration. Their contribution can make Ikebana more fun. Historically Japanese Ikebana has developed through contribution by those were trained officially as well as by a small number of those who did not have any or very little official training.      

Second, true Ikebana artists should follow the spiritual teachings of Ikebana tradition. “The Ten Virtues of Ikebana” is one of such tradition (See http://www.shoso.com.au/2015/02/basic-ikebana-articles.html). It emphasises first of all the importance of no discrimination. Practicing such a principle may be difficult sometimes but helps our personal growth, which will reflect on our Ikebana works.

Ikebana consists of both artistic and spiritual aspects. If you ignore the personal growth, you can never be a true Ikebana artist. Of course we don’t intend to claim that we are particularly spiritual or true Ikebana artists, but we would like to follow the traditional teachings of Ikebana in making decisions.

Third, Ikebana Gallery Award is the first online Ikebana competition that Ikebana students of any Ikebana school can globally participate in Ikebana history. This unique and generous project will be recognised as historically significant.

It is important for us to maintain our uniqueness, openness, fairness and friendliness. That is our philosophy. Because of this philosophy, we believe that our judges are willing to support this project voluntarily.

We are pleased to know that some Ikebana schools have recently started online competitions within their own schools. Those who are studying Ikebana officially can now participate in those competitions as well as our award. However, those who have no choice but to study Ikebana unofficially have no other option to participate in competitions but in ours.

Therefore, it is natural for us to invite those who don’t have opportunities to study Ikebana officially. Despite their passion for Ikebana, they are already in a disadvantaged position. Why do they have to be further punished by being excluded from this award? We hope we can help them by providing a small extra learning opportunity of receiving feedback from highly regarded Ikebana and art experts. We are sure that all Ikebana friends around the world will agree with our decision.     

We are aware that some may feel uncomfortable about our decision. However, flower will give us power to overcome fears inside us and help us make right decision. 
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