Akio Makigawa
Australian, 1948-1999
Spirit of Fire 1991
Galvanized steel, fibreglass, epoxy resin and pigments,
Provenance: The Private Collection of John and Pauline Gandel Melbourne.

Literature: Haig Beck and Jacquie Cooper, Akio Makigawa, no. 86, illustrated

Akio Makigawa arrived in Perth from Japan in 1974 with the intention of working as a sail maker. Since boy-hood, sailing had been his first love and he dreamt of one day owning a boat to sail around the world. Makigawa had always enjoyed making paintings and working creatively, however he had not thought of making art a career. His first encounter with sculpture was through the Perth sculptor Tony Jones (born 1944) whom he met through a common interest in sailing. He enrolled in the Claremont School of Art which had a focus on the study of sculpture - here he was introduced to the enormous possibilities within the realm of sculpture.
He continued his study of sculpture at the Western Australian Institute of Technology (now Curtin University) and was influenced by the radical attitudes of Terry New and other expatriate British lecturers. Makigawa was drawn to British sculpture more than any other as it ‘was engaged in an attempt to free sculptural form from its dependence on the spatial and emotional logic of the human body.'
Makigawa found inspiration from many Australian and international sculptors, however he began to form his own unique feeling towards sculpture which involved the more profound Japanese attitude to material.
‘In Japan, the religious thing is tricky: if you find a stone or the air or a tree that is ‘right' then it can be close to God. I have an approach that is different to the English ‘honesty to materials'. For them material is just material. They are not interested in the spiritual side of material. Even Henry Moore's interest in material goes no further.'
In this work, Makigawa shows the influence of modernist sculptors Jean Arp (1887-1966) and Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) which is often evident, as it is here with this work, particularly the latter's notion of incorporating the idea of different materials into one artwork. Here the red marble effect of upper section contrasts yet seamlessly blends with the cool metal quadripartite base.
Makigawa is most well-known for his monumental public commissions. The artist's deteriorating health later in life restricted the amount of work he was able to produce outside of his public commissions, so works of this scale are very rare to the market.


Bromfield, D., Akio Makigawa, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1995,

Akio Makigawa, interview with David Bromfield, Perth October 1994,

  • 279cm high 241cm wide 100cm deep
  • Artist Name:
  • Akio Makigawa
  • Medium:
  • Galvanized steel, fibreglass, epoxy resin and pigments,

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