Artist Manabu Kochi from Naha to have artwork displayed at a French national museum in Paris

Artist Manabu Kochi from Naha to have artwork displayed at a French national museum in Paris

“I am very happy that my work will be on permanent exhibition,” says Manabu Kochi while visiting the Ryukyu Shimpo Offices in Naha

October 4, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Ami Chibana


Manabu Kochi, 64, a painter and sculptor from Naha who currently lives in France, will have 45 of his works displayed at the Arab World Institute (AWI) Art Museum in Paris.

Kochi has previously had his works exhibited in city museums throughout France, but this will be the first time they will be on display and preserved at one of France’s designated national museums.

Kochi said happily, “I am proud as both a Japanese and an Okinawan to have my art on display at national museums in other countries.”


The AWI collects and exhibits artworks from the Arab world.

The Galerie Claude Lemand, which is run by Claude Lemand and has Kochi under contract, will be donating 1,300 pieces to the AWI, among which Kochi’s works are included.

A painting by Motobu Kochi being kept at the AWI (untitled, ⒸManabu Kochi)


According to Kochi, the art currently being curated at the Galarie Claude Lemand are either (1) modern artists from the Arab world, (2) works commissioned by Lemand with the theme “Surreal depictions of birds,” or (3), the works of foreign artists living in Paris. As Kochi is the only artist that falls into both categories 2 and 3, his works were included in the gallery.


Kochi moved to Europe when he was 24 to pursue his dream of becoming a worldly artist.

Now that he has joined the ranks of internationally-recognized artists, he said with a twinkle in his eye, “There are no limits to dreams.

I want to keep expanding on my career.”


In order for the AWI to realize the Claude Lemand corner of the museum, they plan on converting part of the permanent exhibition floor.

From here on, Kochi will be donating 15-20 works to the AWI each year.


Kochi was also offered a commission to display his artwork in the new wing of the Hotel Palm Royal Naha in Naha, and has briefly returned to his home country for the first time in three years.

Sculptures at the AWI, part of Lemand’s “Surreal bird figures” series (ⒸManabu Kochi)

In June of last year he was diagnosed with cancer, and while he has been fighting the disease the part nine months with a new anti-cancer medication, he has recovered enough to travel home.

While he was sick, Kochi was encouraged by Lemand to draw every day, and even though there were days where the side effects of his medication made it hard to hold a pencil, he drew. He reflected, “It was good that I was able to unconsciously slip into my drawings.”

He said that he does not want to limit himself to just France and that he, “wants to raise his recognition globally,” and aims for bigger and better things.


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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