Capturing Life in the Yambaru Forest
The Yambaru Byobu Exhibition by the Kunigami Village artist, Ichiro Kikuta, opened on October 1st on the OIST campus. The exhibition runs through October 31 and is open to all. Please take this opportunity to visit the university and see this outstanding exhibition. Kikuta uses traditional techniques to portray native animals and plants of northern Okinawa’s Yambaru forest on hand-made byobu, or folding screens. The exhibition showcases 29 black-ink paintings, including representative works featuring Okinawa rails, elephant ear plants, and pink-flowered hibiscus.
The artist was born and raised in a small village nestled in the mountains of Fukushima, in northern Japan. From the time of his childhood, he always enjoyed drawing what he found in nature around him, such as insects and birds. Gradually, Kikuta became more inclined to project the real substance of nature, rather than superficial aspects of it. Having realized that flowers, birds, and mountains are all just parts of the entirety of nature, always changing from one moment to the next, he ultimately settled on black ink as his medium of choice to depict the “wholeness” of the natural world.
“I look forward to seeing how well my view of nature is conveyed by the artwork,” says Kikuta. What are his expectations of the OIST exhibition? “I want to know their candid impressions of my work.”
In the gallery there are a panel and a video explaining the traditional technique of byobu-making.