INDIGO BLUE OCEAN By Leki&Occy
Connecting the World with Indigo and the Sea
@ Mizuta Museum of Art.
Josai International University
真栄城興和 #琉球藍 #阿波藍 #絣
Buaisou #IKILUCA #Lhoooq
indigo #surfing #Leki
阿波藍 #蒅 #灰汁発酵建て
Leki Nagahara and Okikazu Maeshiro (Occy), both graduates who excelled in the surfing club at JIU, are dedicated to creating natural indigo dyed artwork and promoting indigo dyeing culture in their respective hometowns of Tokushima and Okinawa.
Nagahara traveled to the United States, Australia and other countries to learn about the connection between surfing and the local community. After returning to Tokushima, he encountered Awa Ai (indigo dye) and felt a strong sense of connection between the blue of Awa Ai and the blue of the sky and sea in his hometown. This inspired him to create art that combines indigo, surfing and Kūkai (the Shikoku Pilgrimage) and engage in cultural outreach. Based at “in Between Blues” in Kaiyo-cho, he continues to work as an Awa Ai producer and an ambassador for the Ministry of the Environment, connecting people, things and experiences in Japan and abroad through indigo and the sea.
Maeshiro’s grandfather was Kōsei Maeshiro, who helped revive Ryukyu textiles after World War II. Maeshiro trained under his father, Okishige, and continues to carry on the Ryukyu Bigasuri tradition, which encompasses every aspect from the cultivation of indigo plants to the making of dyes and the dyeing and weaving processes. In 2013, he became a wheelchair user due to illness and temporarily stepped away from dyeing and weaving. However, he later launched his original brand, BIGASURI, using Ryukyu Bigasuri cloth and leather. In 2017, he collaborated with a woodworker to develop a floor loom he could operate while in a wheelchair, allowing him to resume his dyeing and weaving work. His ongoing creation of art that depicts the scenery of the sky and sea and his determination to overcome obstacles and carry on the legacy and skills of his predecessors have garnered attention both domestically and internationally.