I went for a day in Fukuoka. The main event of the trip was to visit the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. I was definitely not disappointed!
We started with a temporary exhibition of a modern Japanese artist. We were welcomed by the amazing digital mapping show and went further to see many different aspects of his practice. He mainly works with a traditional Japanese ink and brush, but creates amazing, dynamic drawings. We saw a whole wall full of A3 studies of various subjects, a huge scale dragon painting and illustrations of modern athletes, confronted with portrayals of Japanese soldiers. The artist using traditional means doesn’t exclusively sticks to traditional themes – although when he does adress them they still have a very strong modern feel.
The rest of the museums were filled with the FAAM permanent exhibition. Now, my background of art history is I’d say quite proper – I spent my high school career learning about it and passed my A-levels to top it up. But being taught in Europe, it was inevitable my teachers and overall education system would prioritize Western art, mentioning only other cultures in the context of being an influence on the European culture.
When it comes to Japanese of Chinese art I didn’t know a lot. What I didn’t know absolutely anything about was art of any other Asian countries. Going around the museum I was learning not only about new visual expressions I did not have an opportunity to encounter yet, but also histories and cultures of all those nations we tend to overlook as being ‘third world’, ‘post colonialist’, ‘unimportant’ countries.
It was fascinating to see my beloved modernist movement being flipped by young artists to create not only their own visual language but also create a visual identity for their countries, finally regaining independence from Western cultures or Asian power houses.
It’s not possible to know everything about every country – but this visual trip taught me a lot and showed me all of the artistic potential all cultures can provide.