Emirati’s first certified Ikebana instructor hailed
Amani Alshehhi (second from right) and other officials attend an event.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior reporter
In the past there were those who helped man find reasons to appreciate even the simplest and see the bright side in life even more.
“The first concept you learn is the minimalism that sets it apart from common flower arrangements. It teaches you to appreciate the beauty of each stem used in the arrangement, whether it is a flower, a leaf or a branch. Each rod has an aesthetic role. By applying this concept, you can have a beautiful flower arrangement using stems as small as four! Slowly the concept of ‘less is more’ begins to be (a big part of) your own life, ”said Amani Alshehhi.
On his teachings of an ancient art, dating back six centuries – to a time when only royalty could study and indulge – Alshehhi, the first Emirati certified instructor from Ikebana, continued: “(It) has me also learned the importance of having a hobby that connects a person to nature and appreciating the beauty of flowers. Especially (at) this time (when) a lot of things go virtual. “
Alshehhi’s certification as an Ikebana instructor came from the Ohara School of Ikebana (Japan), whose history of encouraging and developing individuals to love nature much more deeply, through the minimalist floral arrangement, dates back to 1895.
On Sunday, Harue Oki, chairman of the official study group of the Ohara school of Ikebana (Japan) official / Ohara school of Ikebana Dubai Abu Dhabi, explained: ceremony, or judo, there is a long-standing practice according to which students receive a certificate from their teacher. This certificate recognizes that the student has acquired appropriate skills through the coursework.
Alshehhi has completed all five required levels of the Ohara School of Ikebana (Japan) curriculum, consisting of 120 lessons, which she had enrolled in since 2015. Her Ikebana arrangements were highlighted during national receptions organized by the Japanese Embassy in Abu Dhabi. , to celebrate the birthday of the Emperor of Japan Akihito in 2018 and the birthday of the Emperor of Japan Naruhito in 2020.
“Anyone who obtains the Instructor Diploma Certificate means that the person will be registered as an official instructor of the Ohara School of Ikebana (Japan) and will be eligible to teach students. Certification is the first step on a path that can eventually lead to the highest recognition possible, which is the First Master of Ikebana. As lifelong learning, which is synonymous with the Japanese concept of “Ikigai”, a combination of “Iki” (life) and “Gai” (benefit / value) means giving your life a value, a sense or purpose, ”Oki said. .
Alshehhi, named Misaki (“Beautiful Bloom”), who became a certified Ikebana instructor, is delighted to organize workshops and demonstrations so that the United Arab Emirates also benefit from this ancient art rooted in Buddhist rituals and developed with the naturalness of Winter-Spring-Summer-Autumn, the Japanese aesthetic of asymmetry and empty spaces. However, she is not a pioneer in a special Ikebana flower shop.
“In theory, opening a flower shop is very difficult. Ikebana’s flower arrangements could be considered living sculptures. The flowers should be arranged in the same place where they will be displayed, as moving the arrangement will permanently displace the flowers from their precise positions and ultimately the arrangement could be ruined.
On July 29, the Japanese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Akihiko Nakajima, personally congratulated Alshehhi on his success and for having constituted a “cultural bridge” between the United Arab Emirates and Japan.
Nakajima also encouraged her to continue studying Ikebana which, alongside other deeply rooted traditional Japanese art forms, involves lifelong learning.
Alshehhi grew up with a father who brought home “beautiful pictures of geishas” and “rich colors and prints” kimonos from business trips to Japan.
Drawing on these exhibits has led to years of cultural immersion in this distant East Asian nation, northeast of the Pacific Ocean.
She befriended Japanese students visiting the United Arab Emirates. She can now teach and pass on her new knowledge and skills to Ikebana aficionados.