Ryan Takaba

Takaba_day 49

49 to a new (drift)   2015
Porcelain, mums, water, steel, neodymium magnets, 12″ x 18″ x 3″

49 to a new is comprised of three pieces – wake, drift, and alight.  These three pieces explore the Buddhist concept of the 49th day service.  After a family member passes, the family attends a wake, a burial service, and a ceremony to commemorate the 49th day.  In Buddhist teachings, once the person passes, their spirit wanders in the dark moving to a new place every seven days, and on the 49th day, a service is held to mark the spirit’s new resting place.  An arrangement of flowers, a candle, and the burning of incense are placed at the person’s bedside.  As the year passes, these objects find a home at an altar in the bedroom of a loved one, providing a place for visitation.

I am interested in daily ritual, specifically in relation to the flower and the vase, the candle and the wax, and the incense and its holder.  What defines a ritual and not a habit is a question I have been asking with this work.  My only surviving grandmother who is in her 90’s visits my grandfather every morning through daily prayer, a prayer involving lighting a candle, burning incense, and arranging fresh flowers.  Her dedication and belief makes me believe that this process transcends habit into ritual, and ritual into spirituality.

Drift is a made up of seven components that, when displayed together, form a cloud.  Each component holds seven white mums and by the 49th day, the piece resembles floating islands with tiny trees.”


– Ryan Takaba

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