Sixty years ago, Nepal and Japan began a journey together that they are still on today: the journey of friendship. Diplomatic ties were established formally in 1956 between the two nations that share the same predominant natural threat – earthquakes.
On the 60thAnniversary of the occasion, the Embassy of Japan and the Japan Foundation organized a travelling Art Exhibition at the Nepal Art Council Gallery in Babarmahal, inaugurated by the Cultural Minister, eight different ambassadors, the IGP Durja Kumar Rai, and other dignitaries.
Held from the 27thof February until the 8thof March, the exhibition – ‘Passage to the Future, Art from a New Generation in Japan’, showcases remarkable modern art from eleven young Japanese artists.
Aimed at raising awareness about Japanese art and allowing people from various countries to explore contemporary Japanese art, the exhibition was home to many pieces ranging from paintings, videos, photos and sculptures. Paintings by artists such as Atsushi Fukui and Nobuyuki Takahashi were on display that, though appeared simple, were filled with very detailed planning and rich back stories about the artists and their intended techniques.
One of the most idiosyncratic back stories belongs to the creators of the Naki series which translates to “fish-motif machines.” The members of group Maywa Denki, headed by Nobumichi Tosa, wear blue uniforms to work, address themselves as “employees”, their workplace as a “factory” and their art as “products”. Their “products” are packed with the essence of mechanics while retaining their artistic form. Some artworks of Maywa Denki are musical instruments that they use in public performances; some are props while others are sold as toys.
The touring exhibition, as said by Ishwari Bhatt, was requested here in Nepal on the occasion of the 60thAnniversary of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Nepal. The exhibition had arrived from Shanghai and was to leave for Kubed right after. The exhibition contains work from 1994 until 2004, while each year new art is added to enhance it. If the tour were to go back to the same city again, a new set would be on display.
One of the organizers, the Japan Foundation, operates as an independent body, aiming at culture preservation, restoration and international dialogue. It is currently showcasing 20 travelling exhibitions worldwide, per year. The exhibition was not the only event that was held to celebrate. On the 12thof March, a Karaoke Competition took place. They are also conducting a Jazz concert on the 26th, Music Workshop on the 27th and had also organized a logo making competition.
Japan and Nepal share more than diplomatic ties and earthquakes. The Japanese and Nepalese are hard workers and prioritize the sustenance of their culture, traditions and beliefs. Along with preserving culture and promoting harmony, the exhibition, regardless of whether it intended to or not, showcases the similarities between the Japanese and Nepalese people.