Viet Nam’s picturesque landscapes and mystical monuments have
found katazome expression at the hands of Japanese artist Toba Mika.
A selection of her works is on display at the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture.
More than a thousand years old, katazome, or stencil dyeing, is a Japanese
paste-resist surface design technique for cloth and paper. The complicated
process incorporates elements of both printmaking and painting, and relies on
simple non-toxic materials such as rice paste, natural pigments and soymilk.
Katazome was used in creating samurai outfits, clothes of kyogen comic
performing artists, or kimonos.
Mika, who has a Masters degree from the Kyoto City University of Arts, has
developed a new style of painting by using the traditional katazome method.
When she first came to Viet Nam in 1994, the artist immediately felt an
invisible connection between katazome paintings and Viet Nam’s scenery and
cultural heritage, and this prompted her to make several trips to Viet Nam.
She found inspiration in everyday scenes, like the railway track in Ha Noi that
passes very close to a row of houses and a lone boat on the Huong River in Hue
early in the morning, the mystical Cham sculptures in the My Son Sanctuary and
the typical yellow walls in Hoi An city.
Her unique paintings have been exhibited several times in Viet Nam, attracting
great attention and admiration from Vietnamese art enthusiasts.
Some of the previous shows held here were at the Toba Mika Exhibition to
commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Japan - Viet Nam Diplomatic Relations in
2003; an exhibition called Playing the Eternal Music of Heart at the Royal
Palace in Hue in 2005; and the Nara and Ha Noi Bound together with Katazome
exhibition that commemorated both the 1,300th anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo
Capital and the millennial anniversary of Thang Long-Ha Noi in 2010.
In Japan, Mika has received 19 awards including “Urban Culture Incentive Award”
and the “Kyoto Arts New Artist Award”. She received the Foreign Minister’s Award
for her contribution to promoting friendship between Japan and Viet Nam through
her works and cultural activities. The Vietnamese Government has also given her
its Cultural Testimonial Award.
The ongoing Toba Mika’s Katazome Paintings Exhibition, which has been brought to
Da Nang by Menard, is an activity held to welcome the APEC Economic Leaders
Meeting. It will remain open to the public until November 11..