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.
Eilan Choo is a paintress who lived in Korea and Japan. Although visual arts have always attracted her attention, it is only recently, that she could follow her passion for painting:
“Since I was very young, I have always been interested in the different forms of art, but while I was living in Asia, I was never able to develop my passion”. She tells me.
Today she’s attending the second year of a three year course at Brera’s Academy of Arts, located in Milan, Italy, a center of culture and a point of reference for many Asian artists.
“I am learning several painting styles and techniques as well, but I’m still looking for my own style”.
While I’m interviewing her, she strongly stresses the fact that art must rise from the bottom of the heart and it should not developed from a cold technical expertise.
“I haven’t understood yet why we (the students) must learn so many painting techniques; I mean that pure art should come from the bottom of your heart, from your inner feelings: if we agree this, techniques just fade into background”.
The striking thing that impresses me about this promising paintress is the depth of the feelings that bind her to art.
Eilean loves painting. She also tells me how she has always wanted to express herself through her paintings:
“My feelings, the history of my life and the experience I have made so far, create my art and at the same time they are part of myslef”.
Then she adds: “I truly believe in destiny and I believe that I was fated to be doing this”.
The latest paintings of Eilan are made in oil paints on canvas. The colour is spread by fingers and not by a brush. She explains why:
“One day, thinking of my life and my love for art I cried and looking at my tears I suddenly realized that the shape of my tears would have become the pattern my paintings”.
A painting of her, entitled “From Life” (2010), in the picture above, is the perfect example of her story: the fingermarks of her inprint themselves rithmically on canvas, drawing traces that look exactly like a fall of colorful tears.
The shade of colours enriches the work giving me a peaceful feeling.
Even though Eilan has attended the school of arts for just a couple of years, she’s participating in a group exposition in a gallery located downtown Milan, Corso Garibaldi, where three of her works are displayed.
About her future, Eilan plans to move to Paris where she would like to meet artists and new influences to enhance her art.
For further informations you can contact Eilan Choo at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org