Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 4 Issue 9 | August 20, 2004 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   Slice of Life
   Did You Know
   Photo Feature
   Time Out
   Book Review
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks

   SWM Home



A Tender Voice from Japan

A Japanese printmaker has her first solo exhibition in Dhaka and brings with her the subtlety esoteric to her people.

Mustafa Zaman

Going Zero, lithograph.

There is art through which artists force themselves upon the world; but if the same is done in an uncannily subtle way then it is the Japanese who would have considered to be the champion of that art. Tomoko Ogoshi, a Japanese artist who had a recent show at the Zainul Gallery, Institute of Fine Arts, belongs to this contingent. Her ethereal, relaxed and retina-pleasing abstraction almost wants to negate the lived experience and builds on things that do not refer to reality.

But how far removed is she from what is real? To take the cue from what the artist herself thinks of her influences, we stumble into a collection of things. Tomoko, who is now an assistant lecturer at the Joshibi University of Art and Design, says her memory of having sojourned in San Francisco had an influence in her art. The sunny city has certainly made her paintings be splashed with light and colour. In her childhood she travelled to Spain and China, the vast open regions of these two countries are recalled in many of her works.

Her lithographs, the media with which she feels her ideas are best expressed, strive to bring a fluidity characteristic of water colour. She starts with a sketch and then go on to apply all the successive processes of 'lithograph' done with metal plates. It is the medium that she manipulates to reach a subtle visual solution. It is this subtlety that brings up the subjects of her source which she delicately transforms.

Like a Cancer, lithograph.

Many of her works depict a cluster of spheres. But they hover in between a still-life and depiction of celestial matter. With splashes of colours, either on the middle of a piece, or strategically placed on the bottom of her composition, Tomoko tries to match the experience of looking at nature or natural phenomena. Her colours and the harmony of compositions often bring to mind the natural splendour that keeps changing according to the seasons. In fact, it is the strong sense of reliving the seasons that Tomoko's art induces in most viewers.

If seasons are her springboard, then, spring and winter are the dominant forces of all. The all-pervading calm that may seem agreeable to most viewers, are essentially Japanese, and is an element that is best suited to the society the artist lives in. The austerity that governs the life of the Japanese people, the grace they experience in living while all unsound emotions are well contained, find their expressions in Tomoko's lithographic prints. Her works invite touching, but it does not take long for the viewers to realise that her images depict unreal objects. About this dematerialisation the artist does not say much, but she contends that what she brings into her work is the feelings one has while a gentle breeze embraces one, something that one can never really see but feels with the senses. This is the kind of sense perception Tomoko believes her art thrives on.

Tomoko's show was arranged as part of the three GS Kabir sponsored shows of Japanese artists. It was one of the two solo shows brought in from Japan to let the Bangladashi viewers get a glimpse of the Japanese art scene. The other show that Kabir arranged was a group exhibition of a number of Japanese artists. Kabir has been working like a mentor for many Bangladeshi and Japanese artists, among them many had the chance to have their first solo abroad for the first time through a kind of exchange programme that Kabir himself initiated.

On every occasion he takes care of the logistics. Tomoko did not have to do much towards in this show, as even the frames of the pictures were readied beforehand. Tomoko had to bring her prints with her when she came to have her first solo show in Dhaka. Her print exhibition was held from August 9 to 14, 2004.



Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004