NEO DARUMA Porcelain clay (Amakusa pottery stone) Fukuoka, Japan 2021~

The "Daruma," a talisman traditionally cherished by many, is fashioned after the likeness of Bodhidharma, renowned as the founder of the Zen school of Buddhism. A legendary tale surrounds Bodhidharma, stating that during his intense nine-year meditation, his limbs rotted away due to inactivity. As the founder of the Zen sect, his dedication to a single purpose and his spirit of embracing new challenges resonates with Koga's artistic approach, which seeks to define a fresh value, encapsulated in the term "counter-wabisabi." Harajuku is a district where diverse cultures merge and intermingle, a place accepting of all. Here, where individuals unafraid to express their unique identities congregate, Koga's artistry is finding new horizons. His "NEO DARUMA" introduces a version adorned with graffiti. Traditionally, the body of the "Daruma" is inscribed with characters like "victory," "fortune," and "business prosperity," serving as a charm to fulfill people's wishes. However, in this piece, the usual inscriptions are replaced with vibrant graffiti, covering the body with numerous words and phrases. "Get Stand Up," "Stay Gold," and "Silver lining." These uplifting words are Koga's message to a society grappling with the challenges of the pandemic era. The studs cloaking the Daruma invoke the essence of punk, while the graffiti echoes street culture. Yet, these elements, while transcending genres, find harmony on the canvas of the Daruma, an emblem deeply rooted in Japanese culture.