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	Image: Kamisaka Sekka Flowers of the twelve months 1920–25 (detail) Hosomi Museum, Kyoto

Symposium: Made in Japan

Prints, screens and kimono

In the 20th century many Japanese artists were faced with a growing desire to reconcile traditional art and culture with a modernism generated by the country’s increasing internationalisation. This symposium looks at the contributions of modern artists including Kamisaka Sekka and their innovations in the various media of prints and books, screen painting and kimono.

The symposium is jointly presented with The Asian Arts Society of Australia (TAASA).


Registration and morning tea and coffee

Welcome and introduction

Exquisite impressions: Kamisaka Sekka’s printed design collections
Dr Khanh Trinh, curator of Japanese art, Art Gallery of NSW
In the true spirit of a Rinpa artist, Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942) worked between diverse media. His extensive oeuvre includes paintings, woodblock prints, lacquerware, ceramics and textiles, as well as garden design and the interior decoration of two cruise ships. Focusing on a group of design collections published between 1890 and 1934, this paper outlines the development of Sekka’s artistic language and discusses his ingenuity in reinventing traditional imagery to appeal to a modern audience.

True nature unfolding: the screen painting of Kamisaka Sekka
Dr Olivia Meehan, assistant curator of Asian art, National Gallery of Australia
This paper explores the tension between Kamisaka Sekka’s desire to retain the intangible ideas of his artistic and cultural training, and the equally passionate desire to modernise after his exposure to European tradition in Glasgow. Upon returning to Japan, he again looked to subjects from the natural world that had been central to the Rinpa tradition and this is especially obvious in his decoration of folding screens.


Tradition and modernity in the kimono art of Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003)
Dale Gluckman, costume and textile curator and author
The kimono artist Itchiku Kubota, two generations younger than Kamisaka Sekka, also struggled with a similar desire to preserve and revitalise the traditional. He addressed this by modernising the presentation, expanding the functionality and revolutionising the artistic potential of the kimono, while attempting to revive one of its oldest surviving decorative techniques.

Lunch and exhibition viewing

Colour woodcut international: the globalisation of a style
Dr Chiaki Ajioka, Japanese modern art and craft author and curator
Japan developed, and one might say ‘perfected’, the colour woodblock print during the two and a half centuries of near isolation. Once Japan’s doors were open to the wider world in the mid-19th century, good ideas were quickly snatched up by Western artists and adopted to their conditions, and this in turn contributed to the modernisation of Japanese prints. This paper traces this cross-cultural communication from the late-19th century up to World War II, with emphasis on the lesser known post-Japonisme period.

Shibori and contemporary design
Pepa Martin and Karen Davis, designers
Shibori is a Japanese binding and resist dyeing technique which dates back to the 8th century. Pepa Martin and Karen Davis use their years of training in design, alongside past traditions found in many ancient cultures, to create their own interpretation of the shibori craft. This talk introduces the art of shibori with illustrations of Japanese uses in kimono and obi, in particular the interpretation of landscapes and artworks onto fabric. Examples of  collaborations with interior designers and architects to create functional art pieces from shibori are also showcased.

3.45 pm
Concluding remarks

Image: Kamisaka Sekka Flowers of the twelve months 1920–25 (detail) Hosomi Museum, Kyoto

Saturday 4 August 2012, 9.30am–4.30pm

Non-members $95
Members (Art Gallery Society & TAASA) $85
Full-time students $25
Online bookings close Friday 3 August 4.30pm

Bookings and enquiries: 02 9225 1878


Become a member

Duration 7 hours
Location: Domain Theatre

Related exhibition: Kamisaka Sekka

The Asian Arts Society of Australia