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B.C. artist finds connection through Richmond art exhibit

Imperfect Offerings exhibit highlights healing and rebuilding

The Japanese-style of ceramic restoration lifted a B.C. artist back on her feet and she hopes to do the same for those struggling during the pandemic.

Naoko Fukumaru, a Kyoto-born artist living in B.C., is showcasing a form of Japanese ceramic restoration, called Kintsugi, at Richmond Art Gallery’s new exhibit titled Imperfect Offerings.

The ceramic restoration style, according to Fukumaru, saved her when her marriage fell through and she was suffering from depression.

Kintsugi, also known as “golden joinery,” uses a type of lacquer with gold powder to join fragments of broken ceramics together.

And just like the art style, she said it gave her a chance to reconnect with her cultural heritage and her optimism in life.

“Kintsugi is about embracing the imperfections and the incompleteness of life and it was just what I needed,” said Fukumaru, adding it is different to the European way of art ceramic restoration.

“The European way of art ceramic restoration is about hiding the imperfection and Kintsugi is the complete opposite of that and re-discovering this style became a much healthier lifestyle for me (so much so) that it saved me from depression.”

Fukumaru told the Richmond News that she left Japan 25 years ago feeling “disconnected; like a black-sheep” because she felt she didn’t fit into the “conservative Japanese culture” and even felt guilty about it.

“(Kintsugi) reconnected me to my Japanese culture and it is an interesting way to restore things without hiding our mistakes and brokenness.”

Fukumaru said she wants to relay to others who have been struggling during COVID-19 that there is “no need to pretend or be shameful” that something is not working out and that imperfectness is part of everyday life.

“Imperfectness is everywhere, but so is beauty. I hope adults and children visiting the exhibition will not forget the real beauty we live in even though we are surrounded by new technology, clothes and toys.”

Shaun Dacey, curator and director at Richmond Art Gallery, said a sense of “optimism for things we’ve lost in the past” has arrived during summer and the new exhibit highlights just that.

The art gallery’s exhibit also features ceramic artworks by B.C. artists Jesse Birch and Glenn Lewis until Aug. 22.

For more information about the exhibit, visit