Bridge to Sakai
July 11 – August 18, 2007
A port city near Osaka, Japan, Sakai is known historically for its Samurai sword production and is considered one of country’s primary Tea Ceremony centers. In 2006 East Bay artists participated in a cultural exchange trip to Sakai. A highlight of the trip was an exhibition of their artwork alongside their Japanese counterparts. This exhibition reciprocates this cultural exchange with a showing of Sakai artists who interprest traditional Japanese arts and crafts from a contemporary perspective.
Among the eight featured Japanese artists BAC are Atsuko Sakai’s fantasy landscape paintings, inspired by elements of the natural world: the sea, mountains, and rivers. These dynamic paintings produce a world the artist seeks to inhabit, if only in his imagination. The work of ceramicist Eiichiro Honjo demonstrates the ongoing artistic exchange of east and west, particularly relevant to the influence of Japanese craft on Berkeley’s own vibrant ceramic-making scene. Hotei Nagata’s masterful calligraphy is further testament to how contemporary Japanese artists continue to find innovation in centuries old artistic practices. Many of the exhibiting artists, including painters, sculptors, calligraphers and ceramicists are designated Living National Treasures of Japan, the highest honor the Japanese Government bestows upon artists.
This exhibition is part of a summer-long celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Berkeley-Sakai Sister City relationship. Related exhibitions can be viewed at the Richmond Art Center (until August 10th) and the Alta Bates Gallery (until August 23rd.)