Kendo

Kendo I (2015): ink and water colour

This is the first work from a series called “Kendo“. Inspired by my interest in exploring my Japanese Canadian heritage (an interest that has been fuelled by my recent posting as artistic director of Powell Street Festival Society), this painting/ink drawing was originally conceived of as a poster design for an interdisciplinary arts event called Spatial Poetics XIV, scheduled to take place on July 9th, 2015 at the Vancouver Japanese Language School. This event, curated by Makiko Hara and featuring artists Cindy Mochizuki, Maiko Yamamoto, Stacey Ho, and Julia Aoki, takes the culture of Edo-period Japan as their point of departure — specifically kendo (the Japanese martial art of swordsmanship) and sangaku (Japanese geometrical puzzles displayed in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines). While working on this image, I was particularly enthralled by the opportunity to reacquaint myself with kendo — a martial art that I practised as a boy in Steveston BC, taught to me by my grandfather, Rintaro Hayashi. It was fascinating to revisit the iconic elements of kendo from a purely visual perspective: the bamboo sword (shinai), the armour (bōgu), as well as the intense ritualism of the movements. It’s a theme that I expect to explore further throughout the summer months.

 

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