East meets west in this quaint Japanese-style garden located in the Netherland city of Gouda (yes, the same town famous for its cheese).
Normally to travel from the Netherlands to Japan, you’d have to cover a distance of more than 5,700 miles. But for Netherlander Ramon Smit, a trip to Japan is as easy as stepping out into his own backyard. While the distance is short, it took Smit over eight years to complete his journey.
I spent last weekend weeding at a community garden where my parents have a couple plots of greens and root vegetables. We were tasked with taming the common spaces: the tool shed, the wild garden, the rose trellis-covered paths that wind throughout. No one was really sure the last time a firm hand had tugged at these areas and it showed. Bindweed and Star of Bethlehem strangled the pole beans and choked the peonies. We worked for hours and filled a dozen bags with weeds.
Trimmed, pruned, wired, clamped—a bonsai tree is itself an exhibit of meticulous and constant manipulation. It is fitting, then, that Tokyo-based artist Makoto Azuma selected bonsai as his medium for Alter Nature: We Can, an exhibition of work by 20 international contemporary artists. The exhibition explored the "different ways in which people have displaced, manipulated, or designed nature." Artists dug into a variety of subjects.