20 Years Under the Influence of Ukyio-e

Twenty years ago, sometime in June, I was introduced to Ukiyo-e. I was just finishing the 3rd year at the Academy of Fine Arts Sarajevo, and listening to the final class of Art History, when our professor said that we should read about African and Asian Art History over the summer since the following year we would start with the study of Modern Art. Until that moment my main field of interest was only Pop Art – American Pop Art and Roy Lichtenstein. Just before I left to my hometown I borrowed African Art by Frank Willett and Japanese Art by Joan Stanley-Barker from our library. I wanted to borrow The Art of the Far East (the Art of India and Southeast Asia) by Hugo Münsterberg but the book was reserved for the Academy professors. By the end of the summer I wanted to specialize in printmaking. Boy, was I wrong. So the next year I enrolled in Printmaking under the influence of Ukiyo-e and usual misconception (that is still promoted by Japanese scholars nowadays) that Ukiyo-e is a printmaking technique. So I spent a year on Printmaking department, that was an absolute waste of time, until I realized that woodblock prints were just a way that have promoted this art, same way that posters are nowadays, and that views that we admire for their artistic originality were originally paintings, sketches and designs done by professional artists, i.e. painters. So I started to study more about the Japanese aesthetics and the History of Ukiyo-e. Both of these researches were time and money consuming processes, because the library had a small amount of the mostly outdated books. But I had a great support of my Art History professor, who was patient with me and with my research. For the record, my country’s museums or galleries don´t own a single Ukiyo-e print. I saw my first original in MET in NYC in 2008. I observed original prints from my hand in Enpaku at Waseda University (Tokyo) in 2016 and in 2018 I became the owner of one. Through these 20 years I became deeply connected to Japanese culture that I don´t see myself being no longer capable of being separated from it. Some aspects became a part of my daily routine, a way of thinking and a way of the looking at the world. My esthetics and moral compass became much wider and more accepting, my determination stronger (ganbare) and I also became more firm in my views. And all that shows in my new works.

New works and the Group Exhibition

I made a new Great Wave, 3D diorama with LED backlight – The Great New Prototype Wave (V0.1), new Japanesque with Black Mirror twist – Under the Bridge (after Gakutei-RHCP) and new 100 Views of Ukiyo-e painting – A Red Plum Branch against the Summer Moon (after Hiroshige). Clicking on the photo will lead you to the dedicated pages for each painting.

All 3 were presented at Recycle BiX Group Exhibition at the City Gallery Collegium Artisticum, Sarajevo in July. I exhibited alongside with (as lined up on photo) Jure Paponja, Almedina Ferhatović, Muhamed Bajramović, Selim Milestone, Lejla Ćehajić, Danilo Kreso, and Maja Matašin.

(email) Postcard from Tokyo

On July 7th I received an email from professor Komatsu with a photo in attachment. He had a meeting with Dr Valentin Inzko, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, at his office at Sophia University. They took a photo together in front of my painting Ejiri in Suruga Province (A Sudden Gust of Wind) after Hokusai. Dr Inzko was on his visit to Japan where he was meeting officials of the Japanese government but he also delivered a lecture at Sophia University, Tokyo. Dr Inzko and the OHR are one of the most valued supporters of the Center for Children without Parental Care “Duga”, Kulen Vakuf through the bidding at the Art Auctions for the Benefit of the Centre. It was nice to see both of them together. It also raised nostalgia in me toward Tokyo and Japan.

Summer break

After really hard working and fruitful first half of the year it is time to take a short break to replenish the energy for the next half. Before you leave for your favorite summer spot or traveling adventure, please take a short break to view/visit a Moominvalley Park in Saitama. Have a great summer break, use it to spend it with your loved ones, to take break, do nothing, read a book or two, eat nice food, and be good to yourself and others.

24 Mile Baci from me