Friday, November 26, 2010

Purple Rain

Sorry for the delay in writing posts. I hear from other bloggers that the most difficult thing about blogging is the consistency factor. But it's not like I'm not writing - I'm just writing for other venues, mostly about art. Check out some of my recent articles if you are interested:

The other day at an art gallery I met two people from Singapore, and we got to chatting about Asia. They, like me, had spent a fair bit of time in Japan and we were talking about how Japan and Argentina are about as culturally opposite as two countries can be. For me, the Japanese cultural systems, attitudes, sense of aesthetic, and well, just about everything, are like night and day compared with life in Argentina.

And yet, these days I find myself reminded of Japan a lot. This is due to what I like to think of as the Argentine cherry blossom - the jacaranda. I have always been obsessed with sakura (cherry blossoms). Like a true sakura junkie, I travelled to three different regions in Japan one year to catch them blooming at different times. There is nothing like sipping sake underneath a sakura tree, with petals falling around you like snow. Pure magic.

Well, the jacaranda here in Argentina are much like the sakura (minus the sake and all the hoopla that go with the sakura in Japan. Cakes are made in the shape of sakura blossoms, cards are sent out, viewing parties are planned...they sure do it up). They are similar in the sense that they bloom for a short period of time, and in that time, you are gifted with purple petals falling to the ground that create this amazing sense of beauty and peace amidst the chaos of the city.

I remember my first experience of the jacaranda last year, went I went to the Andy Warhol exhibit at the MALBA. I spent this amazing afternoon by myself looking at the well curated exhibition, which was only improved by the view outside the museum windows - a wall of purple petals falling amidst a row of jacaranda trees. When I left the museum, the sight I saw has stayed in my memory - a caretaker sweeping up all that purple as the petals fell around him. It was stunning.

Yesterday I walked from my photography class at the National Museum of Fine Arts to the MALBA for the opening of Argentine artist Marta Minujín's latest exhibition. The walk along Avenue Figueroa Alcorta, which is lined in jacaranda trees, was absolutely magical. It is like walking through purple rain. The pictures really don't do it justice.

I got to thinking about how hard to believe it was that a whole year had passed and how quickly time goes. And I was reminded that this is in fact why the Japanese are so obsessed with sakura. They bloom for only a few days and the lesson behind that is to take advantage of today - in stopping to view them, have parties underneath the trees with friends, and just enjoy the moment - because in a few days or after a strong wind, they will be gone.

In short the lesson is one that we all need reminding of: Life is short - take time to smell the sakura, or in my case, the jacaranda - because before you know it, another year will have passed.