Sister Cities delegation welcomes visiting artist

By: Nikke Nason

During Marquette delegation’s October 2001 visit to Yokaichi (Japan), leader Bill Brazier and delegate, artist and LSAA member Pat Hicks negotiated with the highly recognized Yokaichi ceramic artist Taro Kojima to present a major exhibition of his work in Marquette the following year.
Taro Kojima and his wife, Atsuko, staged a major exhibit of their works during the month of October 2002. It was a major success, and most of his works were sold. During their eleven-day stay, they visited with several area artists and friends.
They made the surprise announcement that they wanted to donate the entire proceeds from their exhibit sales to establish a restricted Marquette-Yokaichi Artist Exchange Fund (a few remaining pieces are available; contact the Arts and Culture Center).
The purpose of the fund is to encourage the exchange of established and developing (but not transient) artists to share their art and techniques with and to meet and learn from fellow artists in their Sister City. This restricted fund and the awards are administered by the Sister City Advisory Committee.
Ceramist Patrick Dragon was Marquette’s first artist to be selected under this program. He accompanied the May 2005 Marquette delegation to he expanded and renamed Sister City of Higashiomi.
His ten-day exhibit was a success (some works remain there to be sold), as were his visits with many of the area’s artists. He has donated a portion of his proceeds to the Artist Exchange Fund.
Mayumi Kakimi of Higashiomi (Japan) spent two weeks in and around Marquette sketching, photographing and presenting painting demonstrations of traditional Japanese art and its less formal cousin, Etegami.
Etegami is the sketching with sticks, india ink and sumi paints on paper). She was in Marquette September 28 through October 12.
Mayumi’s visit is the third in the series under the Sister Cities Artist Exchange Program, officially begun in October of 2001 and inaugurated in October of 2002 by noted Higashiomi potter, Taro Kojimi with his exhibition and visit to Marquette.
During Mayumi’s visit, she presented workshops at Northern Michigan University, Marquette Area Public Schools, Big Bay Schools, NICE Community Schools and North Star Academy.
She also presented community workshops at the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center and at the City of Marquette Senior Center.
Her exhibition, “The Light of Life, Pointing Toward the Future” will be on display through mid-November.
“Mayumi,” as she likes to be called, was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan and attended the Kyoto College of Art-Kyoto University with a concentration in Japanese style painting.
This art form is unique to the culture. It is labor intensive, quite textural and done on paper, rather than canvas. The subject can be abstract or representational but in either case has an ephemeral quality when completed due to the layering of pigments. Mayumi mixes her own pigments, an art in itself.
Her work has been seen throughout the Shiga area, and in Kyoto where she has exhibited numerous times over the years. In addition to her formal work, Mayumi’s work has been used commercially to grace local brochures, publicity posters, etc. Her largest work, and an unusual use to be sure, can be seen on the giant kites for which Higashiomi is world famous.
Mayumi creates the design, which is rendered in model size—about the size of an average American kite. It is enlarged to fit the surface of kites with surfaces that are sometimes as large as thirty-nine feet by forty-two feet.
Some Marquette Sister Cities delegates have seen some of these behemoths actually take to the air—an impressive sight.
Mayumi lives in Higashiomi with her husband, Toshio, a junior high school art teacher and an artist in his own right. His sculpture is reminiscent of that of Degas. Her daughter, Asako, is studying to be an early childhood teacher and her son, Naoki, is a junior high school student. They live in a lovely home, part western, part traditional Japanese, with a small garden and courtyard, with Tyrol, a border collie.
Mayumi has made visits to Marquette twice before coming as an exchange artist. She was a part of the twenty-fifth anniversary delegation in 2004, and in 2002, she presented an etegami workshop at the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center.
Those who missed Mayumi’s workshops can see the process of Etegami and other Japanese forms of art during winter workshops taught by Tomoko Inoue. A free Japanese cultural class will be taught this winter for area youth.
For details, call 228-0472 or e-mail arts@mqtcty.org
—Nikke Nason

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