60th anniversary
Japanese Art through the Ages" - a series of 4 Illustrated Talks
"Ode to Ukiyo-e" an art exhibition inspired by Ukiyo-e
by Dr. Anu Jindal
Date Venue Entry
Oct, Nov 2012 IIC, IHC, Purple Streak Centre for Arts, New Delhi Open

Among the plethora of events held to mark the year 2012 as the 60th Anniversary of Japan-India diplomatic relations, two events were conducted by Art Historian & Artist, Dr. Anu Jindal. Dr. Jindal, Ph.D. in Japanese Art and Japan Foundation fellow at Doshisha University, Kyoto, has extensive teaching and academic experience including at NIFT, SPA and NGMA, New Delhi and as Professor at Nichibunken, Kyoto.

"Ode to Ukiyo-e" was held from 17-25 Nov 2012 at Purple Streak Centre for Arts. The show was inaugurated on 16 Nov by Mr. Ryoji Noda, Counsellor, Embassy of Japan; the Guest of Honour was Mr. Arjun Asrani, former Indian Ambassador to Japan. In his speech, Mr. Noda emphasized the importance of growing relations between Japan and India and described the increasing activities between the two nations. Ambassador Asrani in his inimitable, charming, oratory style praised the efforts of Japanese and Indian professionals in contributing to joint co-operation between the two countries. Master of ceremonies, Ms. Vandna Narain, Architect's words "we look forward to continuing and increasing interaction between our people" expressed the sentiments of all well-wishers to this cause.

The exhibition featured oil paintings and digitally created art works inspired by Ukiyo-e practiced in the Tokugawa period in Edo (modern-day Tokyo). The term "ode" implies poems in praise of Ukiyo-e; interestingly "ode" is the reverse of the word Edo. The artist has picked up certain features of Ukiyo-e - vibrant forms such as the actor, the beauty and the crane, strong delineation, bold patterns and flat areas of vibrant, brilliant colours, arranged in fascinating palettes. These aesthetic aspects have been combined with her own impressions through extensive involvement with Japan and Japanese studies e.g. "Autumn - Momiji and Minehaha san" is inspired by a musical performance by Japanese singer Minehaha san that Anu attended at Arashiyama in Kyoto, when the maple trees were resplendent in hues of crimson and scarlet. Concurrent with the show the Artist conducted "Joy of Japanese Motifs" - an Art Workshop for children, introducing them to Japanese designs e.g. maple leaf, cherry & plum blossoms and bird forms.

"Japanese Art through the Ages" were delivered at India International Centre (8 & 15 Oct 2012) and India Habitat Center (20 & 27 Nov 2012), New Delhi. A visual feast of the visual arts of Japan, the talks covered four key aspects - Painting, Sculpture, Gardens and Contemporary Art. Japanese Art is deeply imbued with the spirit, thinking and faith of the Japanese people - their love for nature, belief in the native Shinto to Buddhism and Zen, to that which is surreal; these aspects were discussed through tracing various schools, subjects and media from the beginnings of civilization to contemporary expression replete with futuristic techniques. The talks were well received with requests for more presentations of this nature.

The Esoteric Brush of Japanese Painting the first talk in the series discussed a vast range of paintings from those devoted to Buddhism, to secular works and contemporary oeuvre. Stillness in the Japanese Garden dealt with the art where a garden represents an idealized miniature landscape. Sculptural Renditions: Buddhist Icons to Installations described the variety of Japanese Sculpture from prehistoric clay figurines to religious idols to modern day interpretations through gigantic installations. Contemporary Japanese Art - the last talk in the series brought to the audience the cornucopia of media and expression that typifies Japanese Art today.