Okinawan art exhibition to be held in New York

Okinawan art exhibition to be held in New York

On February 20 at the Ryukyu Shimpo, managing director of the Nippon Club Tsutomu Karino said, “We will introduce Okinawan history and culture to New York.”

February 21, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

This summer in New York, an exhibition entitled Okinawa Art in New York will be held to introduce Okinawan postwar artwork. A gallery in the Nippon Club Tower located in the center of the old gallery district of New York will be used as the venue to display the works of more than ten artists living in the United States and Japan. Tsutomu Karino, the managing director of the Nippon Club, said, “This exhibition will help Americans and people of Japanese descent to gain a better understanding of the history and culture of Okinawa.”

According to Naoki Onaga, former deputy chief curator of the Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum, who is in charge of the project, this is the first real introduction of Okinawan art to be carried out in the United States.

The exhibition will run from June 20 to July 27. Commencing with the work of artists based in New York and San Francisco such as Yuken Teruya, Ansei Uchima, Kazu Oshiro and photographer Yoshiharu Higa, the exhibition will then introduce the work of artists based in Okinawa ranging from young artists to veterans such as Tsutomu Makishi, Kenshin Yamashiro and Kenji Oyama. The pottery of Seisho Kuniyoshi and fabrics of Michiko Uehara will also be displayed.

The exhibition looks at a system of Okinawan art that has developed due to changes such as migration and war, and is an expression of art that has spread worldwide from Okinawa from the viewpoints of migration and identity. Borrowing from collectors in the United States, the works of artists who worked in the art village Nishimui that came into being in Shuri in the early postwar years will also be put on display.

The Nippon Club is a private social club mostly frequented by employees of Japanese companies in New York. Managing director Tsutomu Karino said, “While Okinawa has an image in the United States as an island full of military bases, we hope to get people to understand aspects of its culture and also to introduce some talented people. It would be great if this exhibition can help promote Okinawan art to the world.”

Onaga said, “I hope to show that there is a world-class art in Okinawa, from where so many emigrants have gone overseas. It is really significant for us to exhibit postwar Okinawan art in the melting pot of New York.”

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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