Delirious Metropolis – Toru Ishii’s modern vision of hell

Toru IshiiI’ve just been to see Toru Ishii’s first solo exhibition in the UK, Delirious Metropolis, at the Daiwa Foundation. It’s a small show, just ten pictures in all, but the level of detail and excitement crammed into each one is remarkable. Even more remarkable is Ishii’s technique – these aren’t paintings, they’re Yuzen dying on silk.  Continue reading

Handkerchiefs for Tohoku

Daiwa Yasashii HankachiIt’s two years now since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku in North East Japan claimed over 18,000 lives and left many more injured and homeless. The people of Tohoku are rebuilding their shattered lives and to help them, particularly the children, many of whom were left orphaned, graphic designers from the Japan Graphic Designers Association have collaborated with children in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima to create beautiful handkerchiefs which are exhibited and sold to raise money for schools in the area. Some of the handkerchiefs are now on display in London.

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Hideyuki Sobue

Hideyuki SobueWith the cold snap we’ve got this week it feels like autumn is on the way out, so it may be a good moment to share with you Hideyuki Sobue’s pictures which are currently on display at the Daiwa Foundation. They’re all portraits and each one is paired with a picture of fallen leaves.  Continue reading

BP Travel Award – Carl Randall

Electric Tokyo © Carl Randall

Electric Tokyo © Carl Randall

I always pop into the National Portrait Gallery over the summer to see the pictures in the annual BP Portrait Award. It’s a popular exhibition and it’s fun choosing a favourite picture. But this year I went particularly to see the 2012 Travel Award winner – Carl Randall, who was commissioned by the Portrait Gallery to paint the people and places along the Tokaido Road (the ancient route between Tokyo and Kyoto) and whose exhibition In the footsteps of Hiroshige: Portraits of Modern Japan is part of the Portrait Award show.  Continue reading

A master of Japanese bird and flower painting

Katei Taki flowersI owe Rosina Buckland a vote of thanks. Without her I would never have come across Katei Taki and wouldn’t be sharing these wonderful pictures with you now. They date from the end of the nineteenth century and show the influence of Chinese art on Japanese artists of the time. Continue reading

Take a trip to see these entrancing textiles at the Ashmolean

Threads of silk and goldThe Ashmolean Museum’s exhibition of Meiji textiles, Threads of Silk and Gold, opened last week and I expect you’re wondering whether you need to go all the way to Oxford (an hour on the train! From Paddington!) to see it or if you can get by with just reading the reviews and looking at photos. The answer is, you absolutely have to go. I’ll tell you why. Continue reading