Cherry blossom party
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.
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
lithograph and woodcut
56.0 x 76.0 cm sheet
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
Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 87 (colour illus.), 88, 89. cat.no. 54