Veteran craftsman woodcuts exhibition now in progress

Ansei Uchima’s “Symphony of Colors and Wind” exhibition opening ceremony was held on Sep. 12. The exhibition runs through Nov. 9.

A 93-year-old American-born Okinawan, an Okinawa Nisei, is center stage at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum with his hand-carved woodblocks.

Ansei Uchima is sharing his life’s work at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum, Exhibition Galleries 1 & 2, through Sunday, Nov. 9th.  Uchima first came to Japan as a young man in 1940 to study.  Caught in the midst of World War II, he struggled until the war’s end, when he first met Koshiro Onichi and other creative artists who propelled him into the world of woodcuts.

Moving his field operations to New York in 1960, Uchima continued his unique style, blending Japanese traditional techniques on multi-color woodcut prints.  His favorite, a series of works entitled Forest Byobu, features soft gradations combining elaborate calculations and a repeat woodcut process that required more than 100 steps.  His exhibition is demonstrating the retrospective views of Japan through his own eyes as placed in his paintings and woodcuts.  He’s transformed colors into works of art and not only woodcuts, but oil paintings, water colors and collages, as well as other techniques.

Ansei Uchima’s works have been shown at the Sao Paulo Biennale, Venice Biennale, and other international exhibitions.  His art is also part of the collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the British Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.

The exhibition is open daily except Mondays, 9 a.m. ~ 6 p.m.  The museum is open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The museum is closed today and November 4th.  Entry is permitted until 30 minutes before closing.  Admission is ¥800 for adults, ¥500 for college and high school students, and ¥300 for middle school and elementary school students.  Group discount rates are also available.