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22 November 2017

Artist Talk: Reimagining Nature: Hitomi Hosono's Memories in Porcelain

Combining memories of her mother’s garden in Gifu with inspiration found in the parks of London, the work of Hitomi Hosono demonstrates a meticulous study of botanical forms. For this event, the artist was joined in conversation by Dr. Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, Research Director of the Sainsbury Institute, and currently seconded to the British Museum as IFAC Handa Curator of Japanese Art in the Department of Asia.

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9 November 2017

Turning Point: The Momentous Events that Created Modern Japan

To Japan, the arrival of Commodore Perry and his Black Ships in 1853 was almost as shocking as if Martians had landed. In this talk, Lesley Downer began by setting the scene on the cusp of Perry’s arrival, telling the story of the Black Ships from both Japanese and American viewpoints. Her talk was illustrated with contemporary documents and pictures including woodblock prints of Perry and Harris as seen through Japanese eyes, and American drawings of the Japanese.

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3 November 2017

Joso's Japan: Nature, Blood and Dust

Novelist Jayne Joso discussed Japan’s deep affinity with nature, how this permeates traditional everyday life and culture, and how it pulses through the country’s art and literature. She talked us through the insights she gained into Japan’s relationship with nature as one of a cycle of transmigration, as one that places the human in equal relation, and as one that is for forever fluid, dynamic and ultimately humbling.

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2 November 2017

Private View: Reimagining Nature: Hitomi Hosono's Memories in Porcelain

Combining memories of her mother’s garden in Gifu with inspiration found in the parks of London, the work of Hitomi Hosono demonstrates a meticulous study of botanical forms. Hosono makes use of hand-carved models and plaster moulds, to make individual porcelain plant forms that are then applied to vase or bowl forms, enveloping the object’s underlying shape to create an intensely intricate texture that captivates with its delicate beauty.

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18 October 2017

Elemental Journey – An Artist Residency in Japan

In March 2017 British contemporary artist Amanda Chambers travelled to Japan for a one-month residency in ceramics at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shiga Prefecture, to develop her growing interest in clay. This talk, illustrated with images from the residency, highlighted some of the key themes that emerged in Chambers’ works, and it was accompanied by a temporary exhibition of selected ceramic works which were the result of her stay.

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11 October 2017

Absence and Ambience - Takashi Kawashima in conversation with Dr Marco Bohr

Takashi Kawashima creates works to suggest ‘absent’ stories, which recount catastrophes caused by overwhelming natural powers, tracing the memory of the land via the imaginary narrative woven by the artist’s own experiences and questions. In this talk, the artist was joined in conversation by Dr Marco Bohr, Postgraduate Programme Director for the Arts at Loughborough University, to discuss his practices and the works on show.

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3 October 2017

Private View: Absence and Ambience by Takashi Kawashima

Takashi Kawashima creates works to suggest ‘absent’ stories, which recount catastrophes caused by overwhelming natural powers, tracing the memory of the land via the imaginary narrative woven by the artist’s own experiences and questions. In the artist’s first UK solo exhibition Absence and Ambience, one of the two rooms of the gallery was dedicated to the project Unfinished Topography/Collection, a collection of fragmented stories of catastrophes which happened after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. In the other room, Kawashima examined the uncertainty surrounding us in our daily lives through the motif of ‘shadow’.

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2 October 2017

How to cope with North Korea: what can Japan and U.K. do?

In this seminar, Professor Hitoshi Tanaka, Dr Jim Hoare and Dr Lauren Richardson discussed nuclear and missile development in North Korea, which continues to be aggressively pursued despite sanctions from the United Nations Security Council. What are the essential elements for a diplomatic solution, if any? Can diplomacy succeed?

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26 September 2017

Kumamoto: Earthquakes and Art

In April 2016, Kumamoto Prefecture was hit by two massive earthquakes in two successive nights. The Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, was damaged, but most of the artworks were saved, and it was able to reopen within a month as a cultural hub. Director of the Museum Takeshi Sakurai talked about his work there both before and after the earthquake, as well as the progress of reconstruction in Kumamoto more broadly.

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20 September 2017

Kotan Chronicles: Selected Poems, 1928-1943

Kotan Chronicles, a collection of texts translated into English for the first time, takes the reader into the lives of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, and their interaction with Japanese settlers in the 1920s and 1930s, a period when the traditional world of the kotan, or Ainu village, was being destroyed by the rapid development of the island. In this talk, Dr Nadine Willems discussed the poetry of Genzō Sarashina as both historical document and literary expression.

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