Universal Symphony

Universal Symphony

Title: Universal Symphony
MIHO MUSEUM Spring Special Exhibition: Beauty in Prayer “Universal Symphony”
March 18, 2023 – June 11, 2023

“Universal Symphony,” the first work of karakami art in history to reach a length of 22 meters, was exhibited as part of this art museum’s contemporary art collection. 
Since time immemorial, world peace has been the universal wish of all humankind, as expressed in the prayers of beauty that produced the exceptional works of art of the ancient world, such as those of the pharaohs and the worshipers of Horus. In this tradition, “Universal Symphony” was symbolically exhibited at MIHO MUSEUM as the key connecting prayers for beauty across East and West, occupying a space that was designed to create an opportunity for patrons to reflect on this fundamental human desire for peace on earth. In addition, the piece was incorporated in the title of the exhibition, as it expressed the very concept of the exhibition itself. The exhibition was a resounding success, with tens of thousands of people visiting from all over the world. Sensing how visitors reacted to and resonated with the artwork brought home the realization that beauty truly transcends national boundaries. 

I have always professed “karakami as the backdrop for prayer” as I have pressed my hands together for world peace. This work of karakami was born when I received the following offer: “Toto, seeing how you pray for world peace through karakami, I want to ask you for a work of karakami that prays for world peace.”

The person who commissioned this work departed our world before the exhibition opened at the museum, but she had the chance to see the piece after it was completed before the exhibition. Looking at the piece in its entirety, all 22 meters of it adorning a wall, he said, “I like this piece more than any other picture I have ever seen.”

When a museum curator asked her, “Even considering the works of other artists in the world, such as Monet and Renoir?” She replied, “I have never seen such a blue before. I like this piece more than any other in the whole world. It is a truly special piece—one that must be passed down to future generations.” All present were astonished at his words. After all, this was a man who knew art from all over the world. 

Before she passed away, she said, “This piece will transcend karakami and become an artistic masterpiece, not only of the East, but of the world.” Having been exhibited at an art museum for the first time, I hope that this work of art will now journey across the world and into the future. And in the days that remain to me, I would like to prove the truth of those words that were left behind.

November 2023
Karakamishi Toto Akihiko

Universal Symphony | Exhibited as part of the collection at MIHO MUSEUM