Kabuki play Keisei Sanbon Karakasa
after Sharaku

Sharaku is the most mysterious Ukiyo-e artist. His true identity is still unknown and his magnum opuses were produced in a less of a year. His greatness in realistic depiction of actors’ emotional state within a role was considered rude at that time, therefore rejected by a community. Ironically, his name became almost a synonym to kabuki and his portraits influence many, his and nowadays’ contemporary artists.

Strange how kabuki, a sing and dance show, performed by women only, within 75 years became performed only by men. It´s Japanese Theater that came from, or was influenced by kyogen, a short play with humorous twist that was played between two Noh plays. From the beging it was connected to prostitution and it was under the constant surveillance of shogunate rule. It was soon forbidden for women to act and women’s roles were taken by young men. Nothing changed. Then, it was forbidden for young men to act and it became adult male theater. Nothing changed. Onnagata, actors who were playing women characters, were equally successful prostitutes as male character actors. Homosexuality was not a taboo at that time. Here we see actors Sawamura Sojuro III as Nagoya Sanza and Segawa Kikunogo III as the courtesan Katsuragi in the kabuki play Keisei Sanbon Karakasa, an old play that is still performed nowadays. Red patch on Kikunogo´s forehead is covering his shaved pate, because wigs were banned at the time.

In my opinion, onnagata actors within kabuki and Yoshivara represent the first transvestite community, because an actor who would take female role would continue to wear women’s clothing and act as a woman outside of the kabuki theater.

Technique: acrylic on canvas

Size: 177 x 120 cm (69.68 x 47.24 inch)

Year: May 2011

Availability: Available

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100 Views of Ukiyo-e

During my exploration of the beginning of modern art (Impressionism and Post-Impressionism) I found myself surrounded by beautiful views of Ukiyo-e prints. They were my explanation to everything: modern/contemporary painting, design, illustration, comics and animation. Even more, I had to tell that to everyone. Firstly, I did impressions/interpretations of famous works of Hiroshige and Hokusai, but I couldn´t stop there… I finally found my call.100 Views of Ukiyo-e is my life mission to re-create new originals of selected 100 Ukiyo-e prints, new original painting in new oban size. It is divided in 4 Volumes of 25 canvases, some of the forming diptychs or triptychs. So far I have finished the first set that introduces several masters, styles and topics.

A review by Amalija Stojsavljević, art historian can be read here.


Volume I – Masters

The First Volume of series of paintings of the 100 Views of Ukiyo-e. This initial set was a practical part of my magistrate thesis in Arts at Academy of Fine Arts, Sarajevo. I tried to introduce great masters of Ukiyo-e, specific styles and topics from its begging to the end.

100 Views of Ukiyo-e, Volume I: Masters Exhibition Catalogue for Web