Rihaku Inoue is a calligrapher specialized in Japanese calligraphy, “Sho”. She takes her craft a step further by creating artwork, including custom-made paper as a background. This is her first solo exhibition in New York.
As per her artist statement, “I produce my work to present the beauty of “Sho”, instant art, to the world. Japanese calligraphic art is commonly understood to be simply “writing”, but I believe it can be an art form that is equal or superior to other visual and performing arts. Even if the audience has no knowledge of Japanese characters, I want this contemporary Japanese calligraphy to stimulate the senses of people across the world, without borders, and reach out to their souls. This is the reason that I attempt to use more three-dimensional, active expressions.”
One of her creations, “With Love and Prayer” is meant as a tribute to the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The exhibition is only up through May 25, 2014. If you’d like to visit, it is currently at 889 Broadway (19th Street) in Manhattan, Penthouse apartment.
In April, I read with great interest a book review about Forbidden Cities, USA, in the NY Times Book Review section. What was fascinating to me on a personal level, was the change in mentality that is taking place in the United States over the decades. We are still not satisfied, as things are far from perfect, but when you read about the “exoticism” of Asian-Americans, in particular Chinese-Americans (who have been immigrating to the United States since the mid-1800s), just over half a century ago, you realize that we are making progress, as these nightclubs would be unthinkable nowadays. The article mentions an exhibition in San Francisco: Forbidden City, U.S.A.: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970, curated by Arthur Dong.
A couple of weeks ago I was in San Francisco for a conference, at the end of which I went to the San Francisco Public Library’s Jewett Gallery to view the exhibition. It was fascinating, and some of the photos were more osé than I was expecting! The artifacts were like a window into an aspect of the 1930s through the 1960s, as well as the historical events of the times, such as World War II.
As I was getting ready to leave… Mr. Arthur Dong, the author, came in to greet a friend! He was giving a presentation at 6 pm that same evening, which unfortunately I was unable to attend. However, I encourage everyone to purchase this book, and if you are in SanFrancisco before July 6, 2014, to visit the exhibition! His friend kindly took a picture of us.