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World-Renowned Artist Awarded Kuyper Prize

November 16, 2022
Makoto Fujimura
Makoto Fujimura
Photo: Windrider Productions

Makoto Fujimura will be the recipient of the 2023 Kuyper Prize from Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary. Fujimura will become the first visual artist to receive the prize, which has been awarded annually since 1998.

“Receiving the Kuyper Prize is quite an unexpected honor,” said Fujimura. “I hope this recognition will lead to a renewed connection between the artist and the church toward culture care and the development of a robust theology of making.”

The Kuyper Prize was established in 1998 by Rimmer and Ruth de Vries and named after Dutch theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper. It is awarded each year to a scholar or community leader whose outstanding contribution to their chosen sphere reflects the ideas and values characteristic of Kuyper’s Neo-Calvinist vision of religious engagement in matters of social, political, and cultural significance in one or more of the “spheres” of society.

Fujimura is a world-renowned modern artist, author, and speaker, and he is the founder of the International Arts Movement and the Fujimura Institute. His work expounds on, popularizes, and builds upon Kuyperian theology. He uses kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery (often with precious metals), to take what is shattered and make it whole again – not to return the object to its original state but to represent an even more beautiful restoration of wholeness.

“It is with great excitement that we award Makoto Fujimura this distinct honor,” said Wiebe Boer, president of Calvin University. “It is clear that his work is heavily inspired by Kuyperian theology, and through Fujimura’s work his diverse global audiences are drawn to reflect upon deeper truths about human brokenness and restoration which were central to Kuyper’s theology and politics.”

“As Christ-followers, we are called to the work of renewal,” said Jul Medenblik, president of Calvin Theological Seminary. “What Fujimura is doing through his work is reminding us of the Kuyperian perspective that ‘the final outcome of the future . . . is not the merely spiritual existence of saved souls but the restoration of the entire cosmos, when God will be all in all in the renewed heaven on the renewed earth.’”

Fujimura joins an esteemed group of past winners of the award, which include a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, a Templeton Prize-winning philosopher, a prime minister, and a pair of U.S. ambassadors, to mention a few.

A $10,000 monetary prize accompanies the award, which Fujimura says he’ll donate to IAM Culture Care and Embers International for their collective “Kintsugi--Peace Making” work. He will be awarded the prize during the Kuyper Conference, to be held May 9-11, 2023, on the campus of Redeemer Universityin Hamilton, Ont. The theme of the conference is “Kuyper and Kintsugi: Public Theology for Repair, Reconciliation, and Restoration” and will include plenary sessions featuring John G. Stackhouse, Jr. (Crandall University); Haejin Shim (Academy Kintsugi); and Vincent Bacote (Wheaton College).