The Declaration of Maris
2016 / Maris expression ( sand, acrylic),zinc plate / 1100×1140 mm
(This message was embossed in braille on the painting’s plate)
Maris is a mode of expression for creating paintings that can be experienced by everyone, including blind people. Maris also refers to paintings made using that form of expression. It was conceived in 2009 by artist Liku Maria Takahashi, who launched the Maris Art Project in the following year. The colors of a Maris painting are expressed based on the rules of the Maris World Standard Table. Specifically, color value, the lightness of a color, is conveyed through the coarseness of the sand grains used, which is divided into ten levels. Darker colors are represented with larger grains, lighter ones with smaller grains. Hue is communicated through specific scents in the form of herb essential oils applied to the surface of the painting. For example, the hues orange, purple, and green are expressed with the scents of orange, lavender, and sage, respectively.
Striving toward World Peace through Art
We seek to enable the world’s blind and visually impaired people—from children at schools for the blind to adults—to enjoy Maris paintings alongside sighted people, so that everyone can partake of paintings, one of the cornerstones of art.
How wonderful it would be if all blind people could see paintings through their fingertips, similar to how deaf children discover the joypeople listen to of music through the vibrations conducted via their bones!
There are many things in this world that are seemingly impossible to do. However, when people are enabled to do the impossible and share connections with one another through art, they are inspired to be compassionate. This inspiration, we believe, will blossom and ultimately lead the world to peace.
Maris Art Projects
This projectMaris aims to create an ideal society through art, a vision influenced by German contemporary artist, art educator, and social activist Joseph Beuys (1921–1989).
We desire to show paintings to blind people all around the world. This can be accomplished through Maris expression, which is guided by the Maris World Standard Table—a set of rules that are universal, like the staff in music.
We will exhibit Maris paintings at schools for the blind throughout the world.
Starting with developed countries, we will seek to have Maris incorporated into elementary school art textbooks and curricula in order to help foster understanding of social diversity from childhood onward. Our target is all blind and sighted children.
We will establish workplaces for making Maris painting materials in countries where Maris has been adopted in elementary school textbooks and curricula. These sites will offer employment opportunities to people with a wide range of disabilities.
We will build in each country at least one “Lighthouse for the Blind.” These will be assisted living residences for blind people aged 45 and older (if a married couple, one spouse can be sighted).* This is aimed at eliminating the aging-related anxieties and burdens of blind people and their families, so as to protect the human right of blind people to live a fulfilling, socially active life.
*One reference model is the assisted living facilities for blind seniors that were built in Japan (one per prefecture) under the leadership of Akio Honma, chairman of the National Committee of Welfare for the Blind in Japan.
A society where blind people can live with peace of mind is certain to become a society that is compassionate to all people with disabilities. And, as we all become kinder to one another little by little, war will disappear, the sky, mountainsland, and sea will regain their true power, and both nature and humankind will return to their magnificence.
Liku Maria May 7, 2015