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PuertoRicoWOW News Service

Japanese Contemporary Art Visits Puerto Rico

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin

February 25, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Newsday. All Rights Reserved.

Pictures of the Day (Photos courtesy of MAPR)

These are three of last year's prizewinners selected by the Japan Arts and Culture Association that are being exhibited in the MAPR.

Technology has very often been regarded as the antithesis of tradition and cultural preservation. But for a new breed of Japanese graphic artists, who will be presenting their work at the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (MAPR) for the next three months, technology has been an important element in the evolution of the contemporary art in Japan.

From Feb. 23 to May 27, the MAPR will hold the Japanese Contemporary Art Exhibition, comprised of 30 pieces of art from young Japanese artists.

MAPR Executive Director Dr. Carmen T. Ruiz de Fischler believes that through the use of several graphic techniques, such as photography, engraving, digital graphics, and illustrations, the exhibition gives a perfect example of how traditional Japanese art and technology can unite and complement each other in depicting the contemporary world.

The artists participating in the exhibition were all selected by the Japan Arts and Culture Association (JACA), an organization that has been sponsoring the Japanese Visual Art Exhibition for the last eight years.

Through these competitions, winners are given the opportunity to present their work in other countries. The art works exhibited at the MAPR belong to last year's winners.

The exhibition also features the work of renowned Japanese artist Katsumi Asaba, who heads the JACA panel of judges.

For her part, Fischler also highlighted the importance of the exhibition as a valuable way of enabling Puerto Ricans to live a cross-cultural experience with the Far East.

"This exhibition helps discover new generations of talented artists and introduce the Japanese culture in Puerto Rico," Ruiz de Fischler said.

Fischler also said Japanese art has influenced Puerto Rican artists like Lorenzo Homar and Rafael Tufiño, who came in contact with the Japanese graphic art while in the United States.

"The Western world owes Japan the treasure of graphic art," Fischler said.

To complement the exhibition, a series of talks and workshops on Japanese culture and history will be held at the MAPR for the general public starting Sunday. Several forms of traditional Japanese art like calligraphy, origami, small trees known as bonsai, and floral bouquets known as ikebana will also be offered.

The workshops are included in the museum's admission fee and will be offered to 15 people each.

Also, renowned Japanese flutist Rie Akagi will take part in the exhibition with her interpretations on March 4 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The General Consulate of Japan in New York, The Japan Foundation, Mazda of Puerto Rico, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of the Caribbean, Panasonic, Sony Puerto Rico, Toyota of Puerto Rico and Gasolinas of Puerto Rico were key collaborators who helped bring the exhibition to the MAPR.

For more information about admission or the MAPR calendar, please call 1-787-977-6277, ext. 2245.

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