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The delicate shades of Kyoto.

The Morita Rieko Art Exhibition showcased traditional Japanese art in the sultanate

To mark the 40th anniversary of the Oman-Japan Friendship Association (OJFA) last week, the Embassy of Japan and Lexus hosted an exhibition of the artist Morita Rieko. Her work is renowned for transcending boundaries in the presentation of Maiko, a symbol of Kyoto's traditio-nal culture, seasonal flowers and exotic women. H H Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture, attended the opening of the exhibition at the InterCo-ntinental Muscat.

At a press conference to announce the exhibition, speaking on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed Saud Bahwan, chairman of the OJFA, Wasam al Najjar said, "Over the years, the association has played a humble role in promoting friendship and cooperation between our two great nations."

Shinichi Yamanaka, cou-nsellor at the Embassy of Japan in Muscat, added, "One of the most important missions of our embassy is to introduce Japanese culture to the Omani people. The Morita Rieko Art Exhibition provides an opportunity to explore the beauty of Japan through art."

Morita expressed her gratitude for her friends who travelled from Japan to support her and the Omani people for welcoming her. "It is my great privilege, and honour, to have my exhibition here in Muscat, marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Oman and Japan," she said at the press conference.

"I believe many Omani people will be seeing Japanese paintings for the first time. Our faces look different, and so are our history and cultures. However, I believe there are no boundaries in the world of art. One role of painting is to give appreciators comfortable stimulation and impart a zest for life. I cannot ask for more if you appreciate Japan, and its culture, through my paintings. I sincerely hope this exhibition deepens your interest in Japanese culture. And I pray for the strengthening of the friendly relations between the two countries in future."

Morita hails from Kyoto, which was the imperial capital of Japan for more than a thousand years. The paintings on display represented a culture that has been nurtured for hundreds of years and featured che-rry blossoms and camellia which have a significant role in Japanese culture. Morita explained that camellia flowers usually bloom facing down, but she noticed that after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, the flowers in her garden were blooming in layers stretching upwards towards the sky "as if each flower's soul was screaming for life". This formed the basis for her inspiration behind her work titled 'To Live', which was painted in honour of those affected by the disaster.

Morita was awarded the grand prize for a painting titled 'Midday' in the first Kawabata Ryushi Grand Prix Exhibition in 1986. In 2006, she created and mounted 'The Splendour of Autumn' on a hanging scroll for the Kyoto State Guest House. In 2011, she won the Kyoto Prefecture Award for Cultural Merit.

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Publication:The Week (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Mar 7, 2012
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