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Six decades in the making

Six decades in the making | Cape Cod LIFE August 2016

“Carnivorous AY-O-saurus I” Ayo

Those familiar with traditional Japanese woodcuts such as ukiyo-e may be surprised by the variety in style and substance of the works on view. Many of the artists pay tribute to traditional, familiar motifs such as kabuki characters, nature, architecture, and interior scenes, while injecting them with a modern sensibility and their own artistic point of view. Often, they explicitly play with those traditional ideas, as if nodding or winking at the past. A perennial theme in Japanese art, nature can be found portrayed as a cartoony fantasy, as in Kumiko Hattori’s “My Relationship with the Forest II,” or as an Escher-like mosaic of repeated birds, as in Azusa Takahashi’s “Sparrows in One Spot.”

The exhibition represents a significant step in Highfield’s evolution, as the organization seeks to broaden its outreach and name recognition, says Franklin. “Bringing world-class cultural events to Highfield Hall & Gardens supports our strategy to make Falmouth and Cape Cod a regional leader in arts and culture in Massachusetts,” he adds.

For members of CWAJ, Highfield was an ideal location. “Over the last few years, the quality of exhibitions and programming at Highfield Hall & Gardens has been impressive,” says Joanne Fallon, CWAJ exhibition co-chair. “Interestingly, Highfield serves a very diverse audience, as it attracts Cape residents, as well as regional and international summer guests. My Tokyo-based co-chair, Motoko Inoue, and I feel Highfield is an excellent venue for introducing contemporary Japanese prints and the work of CWAJ.”

The College Women’s Association of Japan was founded in Tokyo in the aftermath of World War II by a group of Japanese and American alumnae of Mount Holyoke College and Wellesley College. Educational opportunities for Japanese students were greatly limited by the war, and the CWAJ’s early mission was to provide funds for students to travel to the United States for college. Over the ensuing decades, the Japan-based organization assembled a membership of American women (ex-pats and those with ties to Japan) and Japanese women who studied in the U.S. It has grown and expanded beyond its original scope, now offering scholarships and programs for both Japanese and foreign scholars to continue their research and education, either in Japan or abroad.

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