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Archaic Future

31 images (2106-2019)

The Greek-Irish writer, Lafcadio Hearn, published a collection of essays in 1894, called Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan. The book was both a record and lament for the rapidly disappearing spiritual landscape that he observed in the Shimane region of western Japan in the late 19th century. This region is called Izumo in Japanese, the "land of the Gods." 

It is a place, not unlike Greece or Ireland, renowned for its ancient legends and spiritual landscape of outstanding beauty. The natural environment and traditions of the Shimane region have, however, survived the past century and a quarter since Hearn wrote about its impending demise. 

This collection of images began as a homage to Hearn's legacy. For many Japanese, the region is "soul country," a place for pilgrimage and spiritual renewal. Like artists of the distant past, I have suffered to listen to the hidden ancestral memories lingering in the land and hearts of the people, and to give vision to those voices. The local people are the descendants of the ancient Izumo kingdom— the “keepers of the soul of the land” for more than sixteen hundred years. They have assisted me greatly in making this collection of images. 

This project quickly evolved into a collaboration with the present generation of soul stewards who continue to practice the land's enduring spiritual traditions. These local people express the native voice of the land and inspire new generations of sensitive souls to foster the cultural heritage of Shimane. They live a vision for a more sustainable future that connects a soulful past with a hopeful future.  These people inspired in me a conviction that the work of listening to the land and sharing its message is of vital importance today. I believe it is the most important calling for artists in our era. 

​This project was made possible through the generous support of the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum, The Toshiba Foundation and The Historic New Orleans Collection. 

Edition of 09

Image size 10.24" x 10.24" (260 x260mm), 

Paper size 13" x 12.5"  (330 x 320mm)


© 2020 Everett Kennedy Brown

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