Japanese artists bring art and talent to World Art Dubai 2023|Arab News Japan


Amin Abbas

DUBAI: Thousands of art lovers and creatives descended on World Art Dubai (WAD) throughout the four days of the exhibition as it returned to Dubai World Trade Centre for its ninth edition.

This year’s edition of the region’s largest contemporary retail art fair showcased 300 local and international artists from more than 60 countries.

Japanese exhibitors and artists had a major participation at World Art Dubai 2023 where they featured their artworks and performances at the event. One of the main Japanese exhibitors was (TOKYO Teshigoto) where they featured Tokyo’s traditional crafts, honed and refined by the craftsmanship and vitality of the Edo craftsmen with their rich enterprising spirits, have been handed down unbroken and cherished by its people over the generations.

“TOKYO Teshigoto” is an initiative that conveys to Japan and the world the exquisiteness of the sophisticated handworks or “”teshigoto”” of the masters known as the “”Takumi””, by shedding light on their traditional skills. In addition to spreading the Edo aesthetics of “”iki”” and “”inase””, and appealing the outstanding everyday functionalities of their crafts, the Takumi are challenging new types of crafts brimming with Tokyo sensations so more people can enrich their lifestyles with traditional crafts.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center embarked on the ‘TOKYO Teshigoto’ project in 2015 to build on existing aims of developing traditional craft products for the modern consumer, and of opening new markets at home and abroad for Tokyo based craftspeople.

One of the Japanese artists who participated at the WAD 2023 was Yuji Kato, organized a painting classes as a flower watercolorist.

In 2021, his solo exhibition was held at Nishiyama Art Museum. His works and philosophy of ‘Spreading the message of peace and harmony through floral paintings’ were highly praised, and he has been selected as the world’s first living Japanese artist whose works will be studied as a research project at a prestigious university in New York. At the same time, one of his important works “Seventeen Morning Glories” was donated, by the first living Japanese artist since the foundation of the university.

Japanese artist Koyuki returned to WAD 2023 and did an amazing art performance using one-of-a-kind technique called “Sugar Painting,” where she uses different kinds of sugar and makes artworks with using the ingredient. She is also a pastry chef.

Japanese Facebook certified painter Masuyama Rena participated at WAD 2023 to feature “Paramita,” a collective co-founded by her and MINAMOTO Koshiro, a samurai artist. The two popular Japanese artists have their own AI art museum in Akihabara, the district in Tokyo that celebrates anime and manga, and they are currently attracting a lot of attention for their works. Minamoto has studied Japanese martial arts for 37 years and Noh, a traditional Japanese cultural art form, for nearly 20 years. He attracted attention in the Middle East when he performed at “The Riyadh Season 2022” in Saudi Arabia.

Masuyama is a highly acclaimed painter and filmmaker who has also conducted cultural exchanges on the Iraq War and film screenings in Palestine. She is currently directing and producing an international samurai film, “Toshizo’s Sword,” featuring Minamoto.

The theme of Paramita’s artwork in World Art Dubai 2023 was “Samurai and Cats”. This art series depicts samurai and cats living in “Samurai Country,” a futuristic city that embraces diversity and transcends time and space to convey the spirit of the samurai to the world in an effort to save the world and lead it to paradise and peace.

AI-generated images are printed on paper and composed on canvas. Each piece is handmade using traditional Japanese techniques such as lacquered papier-mâché ware and iwa-enogu (mineral paints). The goal is to convey love to artificial intelligence.

Show highlights included the fair’s first-ever Hanbok Fashion Show presented by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Culture Association. The 40-minute fashion show, featured traditional hanboks that have been created for popular K-dramas such as Reborn Rich, Under The Queen’s Umbrella, 100 Days My Prince, Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency and Crash Landing on You, by famous Korean designers that include Ham Eujeong, Shin Aesoo, Choi Sukheon and Lee Eunjin, who also designed hanboks, especially for dignitaries who have visited Korea.

Models wearing a range of 50 stunning hanboks, including one in the colours of the UAE flag, paraded the main stage at the event’s VIP evening. They were joined at the show’s finale by Moon Byung Jun – Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Dubai and his wife, Kim Jiwon.

Throughout the four-day extravaganza, art lovers and creatives of all ages had the chance to immerse themselves in a non-stop schedule of experiential art activations and engaging live art performances, as well as curated art talks and workshops. WAD also showcased an array of futuristic experiences, from holographic art showcasing the masterpieces, to the new wave of phygital art and NFTs.

The fair concluded with its coveted WAD Awards ceremony, where artists and galleries were recognised for their outstanding artwork. The winners were, Nour Ben Zakour from Tunisia for WAD Emerging Artist Award; Miss D Gallery for WAD Best Gallery Award; Solo artist Marco Olivier Sculptures from South Africa for WAD Best Artist Award and ‘Third Reflection’ by Azam Kamali from Zhuan Gallery in Iran for WAD Outstanding Artwork Award.

The WAD school’s competition for Future Artists saw a range of schools from across the UAE submit an outstanding selection of artwork under the theme of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. Repton Dubai was awarded the Grand Award Primary; Durham Dubai School was named the Runner-Up Primary and GEMS Modern Academy awarded the Grand Award Secondary. Horizon International School was also named the Runner-Up Secondary. A further 11 youngsters received a Young Artists Award, organised by Play Art.

Other award winners included Soheil Hosswini, who was named the winner of the Rove Public Choice Award, Julia Mavlianova who was announced as the Rove Grand Winner and will have her art exhibited at Rove Hotels. Rima Albashir, from Livinc Gallery, was selected for the 2024 edition of the Artists in Residency programme held in partnership with 8th Avenue gallery and Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.

Certificates of appreciation were also awarded to K-Art as the show’s Cultural Partner and Moon Byung Jun – Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Dubai – to mark an array of artworks, live and traditional performances and modern trends from the event’s ‘country of honor.’

Asma Al Sharif, Assistant Vice President at Exhibitions, Dubai World Trade Centre, commented: “We are delighted with the turnout this weekend, and the positive feedback from exhibitors and public alike on the quality of artwork on display and variety of activities available for everyone to enjoy. We congratulate all of the WAD Award winners and thank all our partners and exhibitors for making this year a hugely successful art fair. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2024.”

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