Itchiku Kubota Kimono Collection In North America
7th February 2018
The International Chodiev Foundation celebrates the start of 2018 with one of the most anticipated events in its cultural program. After years of preparation and planning, the North-American tour of the Kubota collection was launched with the “Artistry on Silk” exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Her Excellency Takako Ito, the Consul General of Japan, as part of the program celebrating 90 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada. Ms Ito gave an overview of the ancient tie-dying technique Tsujigahana and the importance of Itchiku Kubota’s incredible work in reviving it.
The art of Itchiku-Tsujigahana is being shown in Toronto for the first time, although many visitors who attended the opening ceremony remembered the exhibition in Ottawa in 1995, when Itchiku Kubota personally presented his works. There was genuine happiness among the visitors who were able to once again the have opportunity to appreciate Kubota’s collection in Canada two decades later.
The exhibition is curated by Dr Jacqueline Marx Atkins, a renowned expert in Japanese textiles. At the inauguration of the exhibition, Dr Atkins remarked upon the phenomenal vision and dedication of Kubota-sensei in recreating the long lost art. But an even more gargantuan effort was his signature landscape series with a single image spanning over 27 kimono, the scale of which in the technical context is very hard to comprehend.
Victor Mudretsov, representing the International Chodiev Foundation, told the audience about the challenging circumstances surrounding Kubota’s early years, when he faced immense hardship and suffering as a prisoner of war in Siberia. Yet those years gave Kubota unique motifs, which later on he featured on his works with the most remarkable keynote kimono “The burning Sun”. The artist’s dramatic life story was one aspect that inspired Patokh Chodiev to become a patron of the Kubota museum and, after the artist’s death, to step in and save the priceless collection and museum from bankruptcy.
“I am delighted about the level of interest the Artistry on Silk is receiving in Toronto and would like to thank everyone who worked on this amazing exhibition” – said Patokh Chodiev, the founder of ICF. “I hope the unique art of Itchiku Kubota will contribute to the rich cultural life in Ontario, help develop appreciation for the Japanese culture and bring the two countries closer together”.
The exhibition features the complete Symphony of Light series, including the works created after the 1995 exhibition; kimono from Mt. Fuji series; and individual works – 41 stunning designs produced by Kubota over three decades, from 1976 to his death in 2003. Many online resources included the “Artistry on Silk” as the top event to see in Toronto. It is on display at the Textile Museum of Toronto until 13th May and will go on to the Munson Williams Proctor Museum in Utica, New York as the next venue later in May.