The Transcendant Words of Shoko Kanazawa

It happened in a split second.

As Shoko Kanazawa received a freshly-dipped brush from her mother Yasuko Kanazawa, she bent over and kissed her mother’s hand.

My throat tightened — it was such a moment of spontaneous gratitude.

Born with Down Syndrome, Shoko’s story is one of birth and rebirth, inked by a father’s wisdom and a mother’s nurture. The discovery of her gift for Shodo calligraphy and moving story of her family can be read in this piece by The Straits Times.

Having just finished her two pieces Happiness &Dream, Shoko kneels before her third piece in preparation for her third –Dragon.

She prays to her late father — an act of remembrance that evoked sentiments — before dipping her brush in a metallic bowl and setting her brushstrokes.

There’s a merge of two worlds — the deliberate and the spontaneous, the spiritual and the innocent — when Shoko Kanazawa paints. Her considered strokes could equally be arbitrary, and yet it is this curious dance of Shoko’s process that conjures words full of power and life.

Her pieces are magnetic. Unexpected, vibrant and accessible. The words become scenes, as forms appear in clouds of ink and paper. My favourites — Path. Heart. Laugh.

Heart had gravity and yet spirited into a flourish at the end, sprinkled with some cheeky drips like jet blood. It also reminded me of a mountain with gathering fog.

You have one more chance to witness her performance tomorrow, 23 Oct, from 12–2.15pm at Paragon. Watch her nuances, and you will discover your own moments of happiness and gratitude.