The Art Form of Flora and Fauna
Tennessee Aquarium Hosts Conference in November
Tenn. (September 1, 2001) -- Imagine yourself drifting in
a lush underwater jungle or being suspended over a swaying
"field" of bubble-laden aquatic grass. Welcome
to the world of aquascaping, where the science of aquatic
horticulture and husbandry become an art form.
inspiration for aquascaping is Takashi Amano. Amano is a
Japanese pioneer in the creation of "natural aquariums."
His outlook toward planted aquariums can be likened to that
of Bonsai artists. Creating these aquaria is about tranquility,
art and balance.
work has quite a following in Japan and throughout Asia,
Europe and the United States. From November 9-11 the Tennessee
Aquarium will host the Aquatic Gardener's Association annual
conference. Special guest speaker for the three-day conference
will be Takashi Amano.
is a portrait painter who uses an aquarium as his canvas
and aquatic plants and animals as his paints," said
Charlene Nash, Aquarium horticulturist and organizer of
the conference. "He's traveled the world to capture
the most fascinating aquatic elements and build them into
captivating aquarium scenes.
of the growing popularity of these underwater artworks --
really miniature ecosystems -- the Aquarium has become a
trendsetter in incorporating Amano-like philosophies in
some of its current exhibits, and we are inspired to do
more," Nash added. "It will be exciting to learn
from him firsthand."
more information and registration for the Aquatic Gardeners
Association at the Aquarium, see the website www.aquatic-gardeners.org.
Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga is the largest freshwater
aquarium in the world. Built with private contributions,
this non-profit educational organization is dedicated to
the understanding, conservation and celebration of aquatic
habitats. Admission is $12.95 per adult and $6.95 per child,
ages 3-12. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org
or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. Members enjoy unlimited visits
and other benefits. To join or for program and trip information,
call 267-FISH. The Aquarium is open every day except Thanksgiving
and Christmas and is accessible to people with disabilities.
Takashi Amano was born July 18, 1954. He first became interested
in aquatic plants and animals at an early age and won the
prefecture prize for scientific research for his Korean
paradise fish studies in junior high school. He began studying
and experimenting with the relationships between fish and
plants at that time.
was a creative and sensitive high school student, a National
Meet cyclist, a painter of watercolors and the first to
start a movement in Niigata to protect the local environment.
He grew up near the Yoroi Wetlands, the biggest wetlands
in Niigata Prefecture, which is full of aquatic plants,
freshwater fish and waterfowl.
started building and photographing plant aquaria in 1972.
In 1976 he began publishing photographs and essays on tropical
fishes and plants from his travels in Africa, Asia and Japan's
entered his first photo contest in 1991 with "Chameleon
Diary," winning top honors, and "Leading Ladies
in Shade," selected for exhibition. His "Yamor"
won a sliver medal at the Fuji Film Nature Photo Contest
that same year. He has also won several honors at the prefectural
and city levels in Niigata.
think Takashi has been the organizer of a revolution against
the old, rigid concept of aquaria - which were just glass
boxes for viewing fish," said one of his colleagues,
Dr. Nagashima. "He has made the plants the stars and
raised the work of aquarists to an art form."
was a professional cyclist from 1974 to 1990, but at present
he devotes his energy to running Aqua-design Amano, a specialty
store and maker of plant aquarium products.
"Humans, the newcomers on this four billion-year-old
planet, now have the power to destroy nature. The once-clear
water is muddied, and the once-green land is losing its
color. In trying to make their lives rich, people have made
us all incredibly poorer from the destruction of nature.
Only desolate hearts can grow in desolate surroundings.
We have to remember that we either live in nature or not
at all. Through building and maintaining beautiful natural
aquaria, people relearn the intricate connections between
forms of life: plants, fish, microorganisms and humans.
Riches and beauty come from harmony, from balance. Aquaria
are great teachers of this truth."
The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga is
the largest freshwater aquarium in the world. Built with
private contributions, this non-profit educational organization
is dedicated to the understanding, conservation and enjoyment
of the Tennessee River and related ecosystems. Admission
is $12.955 per adult and $6.95 per child, ages 3-12. The
Aquarium is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas
and is accessible to people with disabilities.