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  • Writer's pictureHakan Öztunalı

Withered Red Lily Spider w/ Miyabi Matsuyama

Miyabi Matsuyama, indeed substantial artist and figure for me, who has esteem highly into the Japanese culture, myths and folkloric timeline regarding customs and traditions.

Miyabi is the resemblance of a red lily spider from my aspect of view. The withered red lily spider. These flowers usually bloom when withered. It's the hapless moment of hope. It has many names given, but depending to the viewer's perspective.

Flower of resurrection or the corpse flower. Emblematic to death and separation. Just as Miyabi illustrates beautiful interconnections between life and death with an unusual satire.

Miyabi Matsuyama
(Courtesy of Miyabi Matsuyama)

Miyabi Matsuyama
(Courtesy of Miyabi Matsuyama)

You reflect yourself as the Tomb Keeper. Previously stated that: ‘Ugly things need to be remembered.’ In that case, dreadness and misery, are those sentiments refill your state of mind?

Miyabi: First I would say that the language, which belongs only to us human beings, its meaning is given by us. Beauty or ugliness, pain, pleasure, darkness, light, etc., are all relative states, each of which fulfils and repels the other.

The second is that to me people's feelings or state of minds are complicated, I simply tend to notice things that people would rather ignore. If I had to make a conclusion, I consider myself an average human. Nothing special.

I literally nourish myself throughout melancholy. It’s a sort of jinx consistently embracing me. It allows to unveil the malignant part of me and I am capable to tame it, to make it useful for my spiritual development. Do you find yourself melancholic now and then, especially when you perform your art?

Miyabi: I hope your emotions aren't too hard on you. Like I said, I consider myself an average human. Especially as adults, there must be anxiety, melancholy, too many things are we can not control and change.

Helplessness, powerlessness, especially the absolute freedom said by existentialism and the meaninglessness of life (For non-believers). As long as human beings, we must have experienced the absurd sense of life. If there's really anything different about me, I think it's that I prefer to ask why and where my emotions are coming from.

I gradually learned not to worry about what I couldn't change. When I want to create something, it is usually because I really have some different feelings, putting them onto a picture will always relieve some of my inner restlessness and sadness.

Edo era and Ukiyo-e , do you remember about how did you influence and determine to reinterpret for the artwork pieces you have?

Miyabi: For me there isn’t any specific work that really influenced me, but this kind of classical painting is actually integrated into East Asian culture, I can find some pieces anywhere and finally put together a style of my own if I want.

I believe that it is not only for art, but also for life. When we see something good, we always want to imitate it. At the same time, it is difficult for us to get rid of the inertia brought by some life circumstances. But if I had to name one artist who had a huge influence on me, I'd say it was Junji Ito. I vividly remember sneakily reading his Mangas in class and skipping meals to save my pocket money to buy the books. (LOL)

As you observing human nature attentively, what did you find, and what else do you seek to focus into that subject interesting?

Miyabi: Wow, such a big question. I have a hunch that no matter how I answer it, I won't be

satisfied with it, and probably the people reading your article won't be satisfied either. lol Human nature has been described in various fables, movies, and novels.

The stories people tell have already explained the laws of human nature, but we always choose to ignore and forget. We always cling to external differences, whether it is skin color, religion or gender, struggling to find an identity, and enthusiastically participating in the imagined communities. I have never felt that human beings are so different as the most majority of us think, no matter what religion, race or cultural background, we pursue the similar good things, avoid the similar taboo things. If there's one subject I find most interesting, it's identity. For example, because of the recent Israeli Palestinian conflict, I have been reading some studies and listening to a lot of historical and political podcasts.

One of the interesting things about human nature is that I learned a little bit about the classifications of Judaism, each of the small classifications of Judaism has its somewhat own logic and considers itself to be the most orthodox. And it's not just Judaism. Hamas is also a good example. Human identity cannot be achieved by one's own group alone; it requires the existence of others, or should say both the opposition or support of others. Along with identity comes groupism and nationalism. This is also one of my favorite motifs, I hope to convey the unconscious and blind side of groups through my works.

About Junji Ito the Japanese Manga artist, can you define him from your eclectic perspective?

Miyabi: Making stories is a human attribute extended from language, no matter what kind of

story, it reflects people's thoughts. Ghost stories are also human stories. They often reflect our inner desires more directly than other kinds of stories.

These stories often contain primitive views of good and evil, an unthinking duality, resentment of injustice, a desire for retribution for the bullies, and, of course, fear of death. I grew up reading his mangas. It's hard for me to judge him from an objective perspective. When I look back at his stories now as an adult, I realize that maybe he didn't have too much of a utilitarian idea, or he didn't really have some values that he insisted on conveying. He simply tells a lot of good horror stories year after year, which to me is a great thing that very few people can do.

Do you have a mission to diffuse Chinese Art to unshackle the free will when considering the broad public problems in China in terms of policy, censorship and suppression?

Miyabi: Heroism was so far away from me that I never thought I had any calling or mission to fulfill. I honestly can't offer any valuable advice, after all, I am not a political expert. It seems to me that any modern civilization is a ramshackle building built on countless corpses. Maybe Europe and the United States’ are stronger, better materials, and China and Türkiye’s are more unstable. Our job is to make small repairs to these crumbling buildings.

I like Türkiye very much, Istanbul was the city I wanted to visit most because the historical books I read. As I stood in the sunset overlooking the minarets of the Fatih Mosque on the other side of the Golden Horn Bay, and the seagulls flying in the sky, the vibe, the hüzün that pervaded in the air almost brought me to tears. I bet you understand how I felt at that moment when I felt connected to this land, even though I didn't know your language.

That's why it's sad for me to see what Erdogan is doing and the nationalist fervor. History is like a wheel, in which there are few originals, but full of imitators, similar plots play out over and over again. Whether it was militaristic Japan, Nazi Germany, or Türkiye and China today, there is nothing new under the sun. There is very little I can really do, all I can choose is to admonish people over and over again not to follow the mass blindly, not to fall into extremes, like a foolish idealist who longs for a gentle thought to light up and pass on to those around him like a small flame. Even though people tend to follow the fanatical stuff.

Miyabi, thank you kindly for becoming a part of my me and my small realm. Your presence is truly valuable! Your final comments please.

Miyabi: Thank you so much for interviewing me. Connections are wonderful and moving things

for me. Actually I have nothing in particular to say, or like what I always say, I hope that in the turbulent history, you, my friends, will always choose conscience.


Miyabi Matsuyama
(Dear beautiful lady Miyabi Matsuyama, herself)

Official Web-page of Miyabi Matsuyama, tap here: @MatsuyamaMiyabi

Official Instagram page of Miyabi Matsuyama, tap here: @matsuyama_miyabi


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