Exhibition – Intertwined: Bamboo and Stem – at Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, April 24 – May 9, 2010

Bamboo Artwork Nagakura

Ritual Dancer: Bamboo suclpture k by Kenichi Nagakura

Contemporary Bamboo Art Exhibition  by Kenichi Nagakura

Saturday April 24 through Sunday May 9

Reception on Sunday, April 25, 3:00 – 5 :00 pm

George J. Doizaki Gallery at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

244 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 628-2725 www.jaccc.org

Free Admission

On the Veranda Cultural Programs Bamboo Forest: An Insight by Kenichi Nagakura

Sunday April 25, 1:00 –3:00 pm

Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, Garden Room

$20 General Admission, $15 JACCC Members, $18 Seniors/Students

World-renowned bamboo sculptor Kenichi Nagakura of  Shizuoka will feature his expressive and unique artwork at Intertwined: Bamboo and Stem Contemporary Art Exhibition, opening on Saturday, April 24 at the George J. Doizaki Gallery in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles.

This exhibit will showcase twenty-eight of Nagakura’s finest early and current work, and is part of the 30th Anniversary Celebration at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center–a preeminent presenter of Japanese, Japanese American, and Asian American arts in the U.S.

Nagakura blends passion and innovation with each sliver of bamboo he plaits into some of the most imaginative art pieces today. Nagakura learned traditional bamboo basketry from his grandfather and worked diligently to master the traditional techniques before breaking away to pursue his innovative style.

A recipient of the Cotsen Bamboo Prize in 2000, Nagakura continually strives to elicit the “rhythm and harmony” of the bamboo. His organic sculptural vessels are rooted in tradition but reflect a wide range of influences including Pop Art, the Jomon ceramics from Japan’s pre-historic period, and cord-patterned clay work from the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C.

Intertwined: Bamboo and Stem is a collaborative exhibition featuring a gallery design by JACCC’s Artistic Director Hirokazu Kosaka. The exhibition will also feature the Japanese floral arrangements of Ikenobo, Los Angeles Chapter and Ohara School of Ikebana, Los Angeles Chapter.

Complimenting the exhibition, Nagakura and Kosaka will give a lecture and demonstration as part of the JACCC’s On the Veranda Cultural Programs on Sunday, April 25 from 1-3 p.m. This insightful program will give audience members a deeper understanding of bamboo art and the collaborative process between the artists.

Intertwined: Bamboo & Stem exhibit and Bamboo Forest lecture/demonstration are made possible in part by the generous support from the Tai Gallery/Textile Arts, Inc. in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Nagakura Kenichi

Kenichi Nagakura, bamboo sucltutor (Cultural News Photo)

By Kenichi Nagakura

I see bamboo as the perfect material to express the natural world.  It can represent all the primal elements: water, fire, earth and air.

Bamboo can be either delicate like a spider web or solid as stone; thus embodying the natural cycles of the world.

To me bamboo is neutral; it is between tree and grass.  The roots of bamboo represent the energy underground.  In contrast, the above ground stalk is simplicity.

Therefore, the roots and stalk represent a duality.  By feeling the world as a whole my goal is to realize emptiness in the cycles of the natural world.

If this empty state does not exist, there can be no meaning to my creations.  From my perspective as a Japanese person, I believe bamboo is the only medium which enables me to produce sculpture where various poetic and musical expressions deeply touch the human heart.

Nagakura Bamboo Earth Vessel

Earth Vessel: Bamboo sculpture by Kenichi Nagakura. Dimensions, 31" x 28" x 16". Photograph by Akira Mochizuki.

Nagakura Bamboo Postcard