Meet Yusuké Takemura (or Také, as he is nicknamed), a Japanese-born Masters of Philosophy student. Také has been one of a large team of ANU students and staff working on producing the 2018 Australian of the Year state awards for the National Australia Day Council. Také and the team will also work on the 2018 Australian of the Year trophy, which will be presented on 26 January 2018 at the nationally-televised awards ceremony from Parliament House.
Také, congratulations on being involved in the project. Tell us what it meant for you to be involved?
It's such an honour to be involved in this project, because Australia Day is such a big event and I'm pleased to be involved. Finishing these awards using my technique which is developed by myself is rewarding for me.
Tell us about what your role in the project was. What did you bring to the design and construction of the trophies?
The process of constructing these trophies involved a lot of different processes starting from designing and casting glass and also the final process of polishing glass which is really hard. I'm really good at polishing glass to a really high standard and there are not many people capable of doing that. So [Professor] Richard [Whiteley, Head of the ANU Glass Workshop] offered me this job because it's what I can do and that's what I'm happy to do as well.
What do you like about the design?
What I like about the design is that the design is so geometrical but the colour and the pattern and the combination of colour is very organic. I like that there is an organic feature and a geometric feature in each.
Tell us a little about your studies - we notice you're studying a Masters of Philosophy but you've got an art background being an established artist. Tell us about why you're studying a Masters of Philosophy if you're an artist?
I came to Australia in 2006 and graduated my studio-based Master's degree in 2009 at Sydney College of the Arts and that was based only on practice. So I was enjoying making my new body of work. My work was known internationally especially in the US and I was working with the galleries and I was making a new body of work. But at some point after four or five years, I realised that I just couldn't tell why I'm doing this. Why am I making an object, why this form. So that's when I started to think 'well maybe I should get into it' and to explore what creation means to me. So that's why I came to ANU to research what I'm investigating within my work.
If you were free for an afternoon, where is your favourite spot on campus that you would go to and why?
There are so many spots on campus that would be my favourite place to go. The School [of Art & Design] itself is surrounded by a lot of trees and if you walk a few minutes away from the glass department, there are so many beautiful parks. It's great to spend a bit of time and relax and have lunch under the tree. It's really nice. Also, the architecture around the campus is just fantastic. There are so many interesting buildings and they're all unique.
Working on this project and with the National Australia Day Council is a special experience. What advice do you have for students who are presented with similar opportunities in future?
There are so many projects happening in my life but it's more about exhibitions and group shows, those kinds of opportunities. This kind of special opportunity involving different third parties, different institutions is very rare. So I would advise other students to get involved, to benefit from different opportunities, other than just having an exhibition. It's really rare, and it's very special as well.
If you're lucky, you might probably bump into a person who was awarded one of the trophies and they can talk about what they did and what the award is about. It could be a good chance to have a conversation with them. A lot of people, especially collectors of artworks, are very curious to find out what's the meaning behind the artwork. So I think it's good to talk to someone about that - what they did, what's the meaning behind the award.