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Searching for Mokuhanga Light: Globalizing Japanese Woodblock Printmaking /20 Years of Residencies in Japan

Searching for Mokuhanga Light: Globalizing Japanese Woodblock Printmaking /20 Years of Residencies in Japan
Period:Nov. 1st (Wed.) 2017 - Nov. 10 (Fri.) 2017
Etc.:Booking required for the event on Nov.8th
Closed:Saturdays, Sundays
Venue:B109 (CfSHE ANNEX)

The Center for the Science of Human Endeavor (CfSHE) is pleased to present the exhibition Searching for Mokuhanga Light: Globalizing Japanese Woodblock, which demonstrates the organization's twenty year project to facilitate the globalization of mokuhanga - Japanese water-based woodblock printing technique used for ukiyo-e prints.

The exhibition showcases the selection of prints that were created and donated by the alumni of the two artist-in-residence programs: the Nagasawa Art Park (NAP) Artist-in-Residence, begun in 1997, and its successor the Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory (MI-LAB), begun in 2011. It follows the path of Keiko Kadota, the late director and co-founder of the two programs. She encouraged the contemporary adaptation of mokuhanga by bridging international artists with mokuhanga and its context - Japanese culture, history and traditional craft. This exhibition was first held in Cyprus as European Cultural Capital in June 2017, and then travelled to Hawaii, as a special exhibition of Third International Mokuhanga Conference September 28 to October 1, 2017.

(Photo) Exhibition on the occasion of 3rd edition of International Mokuhanga Conference in Hawaii, September 2017

Mokuhanga has a distinctive quality of light and historical richness, which increasingly attracts printmakers and artists to visit Japan to learn its techniques. Together NAP and MI-LAB enabled more than 200 artists to study mokuhanga in Japan and alumni from the US, South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania have become leading researchers, educators and artists of mokuhanga in their own countries. Many of them were fascinated by mokuhanga's low environmental impact using hand hold tools and materials, but also by its infinite possibility and challenges; for instance, the printing result is dictated by many conditions such as the paper's thickness and dampness; and the ingredients including nori (rice paste), pigments, humidity, weather, type of baren (hand-held printing disk), and the pressure of hand printing. Mokuhanga's watery quality and intimacy are emphasized by the use of washi - paper made of plant fibers that have been traditionally used in Japan - which also intrigues artists. Many alumni continued mokuhanga and even became key presenters at the International Mokuhanga Conferences.

This exhibition intends to acknowledge the alumni's effort and Keiko Kadota's commitment to promoting mokuhanga and revitalizing related craft industries that employ blacksmiths, brush makers, pigment makers and especially papermakers. Kadota's work also culminated as the International Mokuhanga Conference which she co-founded as a platform for networking and the academic exchange of information about mokuhanga. The conference marked the 6-year anniversary at the Honolulu meeting.

The exhibition also acknowledges the support of the Japanese government that implemented the Artist-in-Residence program in 1997 - when NAP was launched - this financial support was essential to continue the programs. The global activities of NAP and MI-LAB alumni attract the attention of Japan, the country in which ukiyo-e was created but where the potential for creative use of this medium by contemporary artists might be overlooked. Finally, this exhibition is a statement by CfSHE of their willingness to inherit Kadota's spirit and continue MI-LAB programs.

Relevant event
Talk "Globalizing Mokuhanga and Artist in Residence"
8th November, 18:00 - 20:00 (Only in Japanese, booking is required)
Please contact us for booking:

  • AIR 3331