(Japan 1947– )
56.0 x 76.0cm sheet
Sobajima was born in Gifu, completed Graduate School at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, and now lives in Chiba Prefecture.
For his subjects Sobajima draws on daily life, continuing a genre tradition that dates back centuries. In Japanese painting there has always been a specific category of paintings to do with the activities peculiar to each season. No activity is more famous than cherry blossom viewing ('hanami') in spring and Sobajima depicts a hedonistic group of picnickers having a good time and enjoying their boxed lunches and sake, under the falling petals. The subject of flower viewing has long held a important place in literature, dance and the fine arts.
Sobajima depicts his revellers, two of whom have developed the jaws of cats, in the style of 'ukiyo-e', literally pictures of the floating world, a metaphor for the transient pleasures of the corporeal world. In adapting the 'ukiyo-e' style he shows the true lighthearted and frivolous nature of the Japanese. Sobajima's work recalls that of the great 'ukiyo-e' artist Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) who loved cats and often used them to caricature people and their foibles.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 88-89.
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Author), Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 87 (colour illus.), 88, 89. cat.no. 54
The Urban Bonsai, Queensland Art Gallery, 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992.
The Urban Bonsai, National Art Gallery, Wellington, 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992.
The Urban Bonsai, Christchurch Art Gallery, 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992.
The Urban Bonsai, Manawatu Art Gallery, 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993.
The Urban Bonsai, The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993.
The Urban Bonsai, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993.
The Urban Bonsai, Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, The Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, Campbelltown Arts Centre, 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, Moree Plains Gallery, 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995.