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Famed Japanese artist stages exhibition in Viet Nam

Update: September, 30/2013 - 09:22

Down with the kids: Girl Holding Gerberas (left) and Children Playing Instruments are among Iwasaki Chihiro‘s artworks on show.

HA NOI (VNS) — Paintings featuring the unique feathery expression of famous Japanese artist Iwasaki Chihiro have gone on display at an exhibition in Ha Noi.

Hosted by the the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Viet Nam, the exhibition Iwasaki Chihiro and Vietnam showcases 40 of her most-prized artworks, 32 of which are being seen in Viet Nam for the first time.

Chihiro (1918-74) is one of the most beloved Japanese artists/illustrators in the world, celebrated for her unique ethereal aura combining Eastern Indian-ink painting and a Western water colour painting.

The warm-hearted artist had great affection for children, who were to become the major inspiration for her paintings.

Chihiro believed she could distinguish a 10-month-old baby and a one-year-old baby skillfully in her paintings and could draw the posture of any child without a model.

One exhibition visitor, who had her son in tow, said: "The paintings are lovely and all the children featured in the paintings are very cute - highly animated and deeply expressive."

Her 10-year-old boy was very excited to enjoy a "discovery" through the paintings.

"Through seeing a painting at the exhibition, I now know that children in Japan also celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival like me and my friends do in Viet Nam," the fifth-grade boy said.

Alongside paintings about children, the show also consists of artworks depicting flowers – another of Chihiro's favourite inspirations.

According to deputy director of the Chihiro Art Museum Azumino, Yuko Takesako, who flew from Japan to attend the exhibition's opening on Saturday in Ha Noi, the artist grew many kinds of flowers in her garden and the variety of flowers bloomed all year round to serve as an ideal source of imagination.

The exhibition also displays some paintings from her pictures books.

Throughout her career, Chihiro created about 40 picture books – some based on Japanese fairy tales and those written by Andersen, as well as some picturing the daily lives of children and babies.

She also created a picture book based on the Vietnamese novel Nguoi Me Cam Sung (An Armed Mother) by Nguyen Thi.

In the Children in the Flames of War - one of her most important works - Chihiro not only drew the illustrations but also wrote the text, drawing inspiration from the American War in Viet Nam. She wrote the book while she was battling illness.

Having survived World War 2, Chihiro was anxious about children's wellbeing throughout her life, leaving behind the words: "May Vietnamese children, Japanese children and children all over the world live in peace and happiness".

Speaking at the opening on Saturday, director of the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Viet Nam Inami Kazumi said: "Over 40 years have passed since Chihiro passed away. Are we living in peace and happiness now? We hope this exhibition will provide you a good opportunity to look back over our lives, through the world of Iwasaki Chihiro who loved ‘plentiful, peaceful, beautiful and cute' things all through her time on earth."

The art exhibition is open to the public until October 27 at 27 Quang Trung Street. — VNS



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