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Author Topic: MODERN EGYPT  (Read 7952 times)
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« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2009, 09:43:50 am »

                                             Egypt captured by a Japanese brush

Al Ahram Weekly
Jan. 12, 2008

The influence of the ancient Egyptian civilisation is far-reaching. Rania Khallaf celebrates the New Year with the Pharaohs painted by a Japanese artist
On 1 January, an exhibition of oil paintings by Japanese artist Kazzu Kinoshita opened at the Opera House Art Gallery.

The 10-day exhibition, partly funded by the Japan Foundation and entitled "To Their Posterity: The Messages from Egyptian Pharaohs", takes the motif of antiquities of the ancient Egyptian civilisation as its main theme and includes works produced over the past 15 years.

The paintings are all huge: "The Tower", 183x326 cm, features the Pyramids; "Glow" features the Sphinx with a backdrop of trees: while "The Path" features the Sphinx with the Pyramids in the background.

Kinoshita was born in Hiroshima in 1942. He began showing his work at the age of 20, holding his first solo exhibition in 1971. He began painting Egypt in 1994, when his wife insisted that he accompany her on a tour of Luxor and Aswan. "I was really hesitant, because I seldom travel outside Japan," Kinoshita told Al-Ahram Weekly. "However, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Egyptian antiquities and the natural scenery. I did not make many sketches during that visit; but when I went back to Japan I felt that something had ignited in me."

Kinoshita started watching videos on the ancient history of Egypt. That winter he returned to Egypt, and in the summer of 1995 he made a third visit. After that he was a frequent visitor.

He uses a predominance of red and blue in different degrees. "It might have been because of the hot climate in Upper Egypt, but these were my colours that I was using even before coming to Egypt," he says. "I started working under this title 'To Their Posterity' some 20 years ago. I have always been deliberating the motif of the mystery of chance encounter."

The first exhibition under that title was held in 1999 in Hiroshima, where he exhibited some of the paintings currently on show at the Opera House. "The exhibition was warmly received by Japanese art lovers, who were really astonished by the great history of Egypt, largely because Japan is not a country with such a 'stone culture'."

The real message Kinoshita thinks the Pharaohs have for us is simply to "bring down the imperative past to the future".

"I am very much infatuated with the historical character of Ramses II who ruled ancient Egypt for a long time," he says. "What is more amazing is that after all these years his monuments have survived... His message to us is to take the wisdom from the past and continue to be competent to future challenges."

Yet it is not only the ancient statutes that are prevalent in Kinoshita's paintings. The sun and moon are always there, shining over the scenes. "I was keen to depict the sun and the moon just to give the feeling of continuity or eternity of the ancient Egyptian civilisation," he says. "It is the same sun that rose on the Pharaohs, after all." Although he has an obvious passion for ancient Egyptian history, Kinoshita does not consider himself representative of the Egyptomania movement now sweeping Japan and parts of Europe. "Actually, I am a bit away from such a movement, because I am not only fascinated by ancient Egypt, but also by natural beauty and contemporary Egyptian life. I just want to deliver a message to the viewer that our past, present and future cannot be separated."

Touring the exhibition, which covers two floors, the viewer might think that was all a foreign painter could present. This is not quite accurate. "This exhibition offers me an excellent opportunity to encounter Egyptian artists and art lovers, and to discuss what is behind the paintings. However, my journey to Egypt has not ended yet. There is still a lot here to see and to interact with," Kinoshita says with a smile.


Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2009, 09:48:43 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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