I was thrilled to be able to visit Japanese Encounter on the weekend, an exhibition of Japanese contemporary art, by Japanese artists, artists inspired by Japan, anime screenings, and bonsai display at M16 ArtSpace in Griffith. The exhibition runs from 10 – 27 July and is is a great way to educate your kids during the holidays into Japanese art and culture through drawings, paintings, and movies. Canberra is of course the sister city of Nara which is in the Kansai region of Japan, and directly borders the Kyoto Prefecture.
The exhibition is presented by the Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Japan, and these gorgeous gentle artworks include Winter Garden: the exploration of Micropop, featuring works by 14 Japanese artists active from 1990 – 2010 and includes Koko Tanaka (Japan’s 2013 Venice Biennale artist). The exhibition explores the ways in which Japanese artists see our contemporary era—a time when shared values are hard to establish, and looks at the efforts of artists to make the most of the poverty and boredom inflicted by contemporary life to reorganise various aspects of their everyday activities and reinvent modest and everyday materials. The picture above, sky-flying fish, (oil on canvas) is truly stunning when you view the original. The two children stand in front of a vacant yellow space invaded by shapes resembling water grasses, and the painting is somewhat enigmatic … who are the children? Where are they from? What are they doing? The colours in the painting, and the painting itself, reminded me of bright pop-ups in children’s picture books, and I have to say this painting was my favourite in the exhibition.
Hibiki brings together the work of eight artists from around the world who are inspired by Japan, and includes works captured in textiles, photography, painting, print, and sculpture, and is inspired by tradition, culture, technique, and atmosphere. This exhibition also includes pieces by local Canberra artists Emily Casey and Amy Kerr-Menz. Artist Melinda Heal, who grew up in Canberra and graduated from the ANU School of Art, is now studying traditional Japanese Textiles at Kyoto Seika University. In Going, going, gone 2 (above) of Melinda’s stunning textile piece using silks and dyes, you can clearly see the beautiful and individual dyed strips of silk used to make this gorgeous artwork.
You can also settle down and watch a few Japanese animation (anime) films at the exhibition. The four full-length films, of between 90 minutes to two hours, are screening in Japanese with English subtitles. All movies start at 12.30pm and dates are:
12th July – My Neighbour Totoro (G)
13th July – Porco Rosso (PG)
19th July – Wolf Children (PG)
20th July – Spirited Away (PG)
And lastly; The Three Friends of Winter a bonsai display by Thor Beowulf include plum, pine, and bamboo—friends because they all flourish in winter.
Japanese Encounter Exhibition
M16 ArtSpace, 21 Blaxland Crescent Griffith
10 – 27 July 2014
Gallery open from 12noon to 5pm Wednesday – Sunday.
Going, going, gone 2, and Bonsai photographs by LFW
All other images courtesy M16 ArtSpace