For the past three weeks, I did some intensive research about Belgarde - the capital city of Serbia. This time it was not for urban sound practices but for my Ikebana arrangements. A friend of ours hosted a special event last Thursday at the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Shinagawa. The said event is in line with the Walking Belgrade Photo Exhibition featuring the works of Branko Brandajs.
I have never been to Belgarde and is not familiar with their culture and traditions. Hence, I depended on articles and photos from the internet as I planned my designs. Prior to the event, our friend shared photos of the venue where I can possibly put an arrangement. These photos were of big help as I finalized my designs. And because it is a photo exhibit, I tried to make some Ikebana arrangements that would somehow complement to the theme and the photos.
Belgrade Scenes through Ikebana
Haivng the freedom to design on my own, I challenged myself to create flower arrangements inspired by popular places and known characteristics of Belgrade.
The botanical garden and an urban neighborhood located in Stari Grad. It is under the care of the University of Belgrade's Biology School. The garden has been declared a natural monument in 1995 and cultural monument in 2007. I made an Ikebana inspired by this garden and placed near the statue of Nikola Tesla.
For my arrangement, I used Monstera leaves and Azalea to mimic the greenery of the botanical garden. I used some wooden poles to represent the wooden bridge and the big trees of the garden. The pink lilies, Lisianthus, and Dahlias gave a bright contrast as well as bright yellow roses under the Monstera leaves.
The city got its name after the white wall of fortress the enclosed the area. The word Belgrade came from the Slavic words beli or beo - which means white - and grad meaning city or town. To symbolize the city, I made an arrangement highlighting Casablanca lilies and placed it near the small flags of Serbia and Japan. I added some tiny Blue Star flowers on the bottom to represent water similar to an image of the city overlooking Danube River. I also added some Flax leaves and curled them like ribbons.
The city's fortress is a must-see when in Belgrade. It is the center and the oldest section of the city's urban area. For locals, the fortress equals to the history of the city itself because it was the home of the earlier population for several centuries. Due to its rich historical significance, it was declared as a Monument of Culture of Exceptional in 1979.
In order to recreate a potion of the Belgrade Fortress, I used two wooden rectangular boxes as my containers similar to bricks and covered them with green moss. A long stem of Deutzia gracilis or Slender Deutzia connects the two boxes. Detuzia belongs to the hydrangea family. In season flowers such as roses, mums, camomiles, and gentians gave some late spring early summer feel.
Opposite to the fortress arrangement is a simple arrangement similar to the Danube riverside view. The branches of Eleuthero symbolize the trees touching the water. I placed different shades of pink Lisianthus to add some mass and contrast. The arrangement is on top of green moss to mimic the grassy plot.
The day before the actual event, our friend informed me that there are existing flower arrangements at the venue. These flowers were used during the opening of the photo exhibition. Most of the materials as still in good condition. And in order to make the most of it, I used some of the materials as addition to some of my arrangements especially the Lisianthus and the branches. I also tried to rearrange the existing arrangements to have a different look.
Balkan Music and Cuisine
After arranging the flowers, I had a great time listening to Balkan folk music. A Japanese local band named JapaLkan performed together with our friend. It has been ages since I last listened to a live band here in Tokyo. We also had the chance to taste a variety traditional Serbain dishes from savory to sweets. It was indeed a great night learning new culture and traditions; enjoying good music; and meeting new people.
Here is a short video of the special event.