Writing articles about Asian artists and influences their works might have gotten by living in Europe, have made a question to rise from a dear friend of mine. He asked me few days ago: “Have you ever thought of writing a piece about Japanese- Brazilian artists?”.
His point stroke me clearly and I thank him for this, because I cannot find myself speaking of fusion of Eastern and Western arts, forgetting of the emblematic example of Brazil and its very strong bind with the Far East.
Not everyone knows that Japanese community in Brazil is one of the most prosperous. The emigration to Brazil has a non typical characteristic; in fact it was prompted and financed by the Japanese government in agreement with the hosting Southern American country.
The project set by the Japanese and Brazilian governments allowed the Kasato Maru, a ship full of 781 “willing” immigrants, to sail from Tokyo in 1907 and leave to reach Rio almost a year later. The integration of the new territory was hard, but the new born Brazilian citizens has become an important and inseparable factor for the wealth of the country until today.
Speaking of art, the mix of vitality and colorful character of the Brazilian culture and the Japanese traditional mark, usually very coriaceous to fade away in an external hosting culture, has generated a distinctive melting pot that anyone who had the chance to pass by São Paulo can touch by his own hands.
An author, a “Maestro” of painting , scultping and engraving, who can easily be brought as an example of this, is Tomie Ohtake (1913), a Japanese immigrant who stands out for her contribution to the Brazilian culture.
She had to wait until she was in her forties to let the flower of art flourishing from her spirit, but this doesn’t mean that her art was the calm and unruffled one of a mother of two kids; on the contrary, she is an energetic and powerful artist even if she is 98 years old! As you can see from the pictures of her paintings and sculptures, I put up on this page, her artistic identity is assessed by warm colors and pure geometric lines that are bent together in clear shapes. As she said in an interview speaking about her feelings about Japan and Brazil: “As diferenças estabelecem semelhanças, o contraste è o elo”, (differences determine similarities and contrast is the link).
I believe that we cannot talk about Asian influences in Europe without peeking through the industrious melting pot of Brazil.