Backgammon (1) Cleopatra
1927 - 1994
The artist Baba delights in using the immediate appeal of simple lithographic colouring to sweeten his satirical observations of contemporary Japanese society and its insatiable consumerism.
In this particular print Baba has organised his images into the squares of a board game: an ironic comment on the modern consumer society's version of a mandala, the Buddhist representation of an ideal universe. In Baba's mandala the icons of popular culture replace Buddhist deities in an unrelated montage of the funny and the fearful, the comic and the historic, East and West, past and present. All of these images have been absorbed into modern culture with no acknowledgement of their relative significance and cultural value, and no distinction between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Divorced from their original contexts, these images have been selected for the intensity of their emotive associations.
Typical of Baba's work are the gaudy colours and the sideshow atmosphere that belie the seriousness of his concern about the direction and substance of modern novelty-hungry Japan.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 24-25.
Sugoroku shirîzu (1) Kureopatora
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pencil "Kashio Baba '89".
Gift of the artist 1993
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
The Urban Bonsai:
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992
- National Art Gallery, Wellington, Wellington 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992
- Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992
- Manawatu Art Gallery, New Zealand 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993
- Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Emu Plains 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Moree Plains Gallery, Moree 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995
Referenced in 1 publication
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 23 (colour illus.), 24, 25. cat.no. 6