ITALY-JAPAN FRIENDSHIP ART FESTIVAL, WITH THE COMMEMORATIVE EXHIBITION OF ARTWORKS DONATED TO THE CITY OF BOLOGNA
700 YEARS SINCE DANTE ALGHIERI’S DEATH / THE 700th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DIVINE COMEDY AND LOOKING AHEAD TO THE 1000TH ANNIVERSARY OF UNIVERSITY OF BOLOGNA
ITALY-JAPAN FRIENDSHIP ART FESTIVAL,
WITH THE COMMEMORATIVE EXHIBITION OF ARTWORKS DONATED TO THE CITY OF BOLOGNA
Opening ceremony on November 23, at Complesso del Baraccano
The Geibun Association held the opening ceremony in Sala Museale Possati of Comlessa del Baraccano in the City of Bologna, Tuscany, northern Italy.
Dr. Maria Amorevole, President of Santo Stefano (which includes University of Bologna), City of Bologna, was present at the event. Also present were Prof. Maria Rita Bentini and Prof. Paola Vannini of the Faculty of Arts, University of Bologna.
Mr. Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Advisor, Geibun Association, delivered his opening remarks.
Opening Remarks by Mr. Nobutoshi Akao
I would like to say a few words at the opening of the ITALY-JAPAN Friendship Art Festival on behalf of the Geibun Association.
First of all, I should like to thank Dr. Maria Amorevole, President of Santo Stefano, Bologna, for attending today’s opening ceremony despite her busy schedule. I would also like to express my thanks to the students of the Faculty of Fine Arts of University of Bologna who participated in the exhibition, the artists from Japan, and all those involved in making this exhibition possible. I would also like to thank Dr. Piergiacomo Petrioli, who has assisted us by supervising this exhibition, although he could not be here today due to his class at his university. We are also grateful to him for helping our exhibitions in Japan, as well as for planning and editing of our quarterly magazine, Bun-Ten.
The Geibun Association has held three art exhibitions in Siena (2009, 2015, 2019), but this is the first time we have organized one in Bologna. It is a great honor for us to hold this exhibition in Bologna, known as a city of art and universities, boasting Europe’s oldest university,.
Please allow me to take this opportunity to briefly introduce the Geibun Association’s activities.
Firstly, the Geibun Association was established in year 2000 and celebrated its 22nd anniversary in August this year. We have organized exhibitions annually in Japan at such places as Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Tokyo and some other cities.
Overseas, in addition to Siena, as I mentioned earlier, we have held exhibitions in Thailand and some other Asian countries, Europe (Russia, Portugal, Lithuania, and Sweden, in addition to Italy), and Hawaii, promoting mutual understanding and friendly and cooperative relations between Japan and those countries.
Secondly, our other main activity is to educate children through art and to interact with students. We have been holding Children’s Art Sessions and Student Workshops during art exhibitions like this one. The Children’s Art Session aims to stimulate children’s rich imagination and intellectual curiosity through art education. This time, we have scheduled a workshop with students of t Bologna University tomorrow at this exhibition site.
We hope this exhibition will serve as an opportunity to deepen our friendship and mutual understanding between Bologna and Japan.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Dr. Maria Amorevole, President of the Santo Stefano District of Bologna, then made the following remarks.
Remarks by Dr. Maria Amorevole
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for coming from faraway Japan to Bologna. We welcome the display of traditional and contemporary Japanese art in this beautiful venue in Bologna.
They will also serve as a wonderful bridge between Japan and Bologna.
Every year we in the Santo Stefano district organize a festival called NipPop, bringing Japan and Bologna together. The festival includes art, music, and Italian language study programs.
I hope you will carry the beautiful memories of our exchange in this exhibition back to Japan. We, too, will cherish these memories of our exchange.
Thank you very much indeed.
Following her remarks, President Amorevole presented Certificate of Exhibit to each of the nine Japanese artists in person.
Next, Mr. Fumitaka Ishikawa, Representative Director of the Geibun Association, gave the following closing remarks.
Closing Remarks by Mr. Fumitaka Ishikawa
I am Ishikawa of the Geibun Association, as introduced to you just now.
Cold rain shrouded Bologna from the day after our arrival, but thanks to everyone’s enduring hearts and bodies, we managed to beat the cold weather. Thanks to the men and women who seem to always bring fine weather, we have clear sky today. Thank you very much.
Our tour is from November 20 to 26 and I hope you will return home safely and in good spirits. The exhibition is held for eight days from Wednesday, November 23, to Wednesday, November 30, 2022.
Tomorrow, three Japanese calligraphers will demonstrate calligraphy performance here for students and professors of University of Bologna, followed by workshop primarily for students. We hope you will enjoy the experience.
I hope that the Japanese artists would also enjoy sightseeing until the 25th, and we sincerely hope for your safe return home.
Last but not least, I appreciated compliments we received from Dr. Maria Rita Bentini and Dr. Paola Vannini, professors of the Faculty of Fine Arts, which set a very cordial tone for the event.
November 24, 2022
Calligraphy performance and workshop
As mentioned earlier, we organized calligraphy performance by three calligraphers on the day of the event.
The calligraphy performance began with many Italian visitors coming to the venue in rapid succession.
The first to start was Ms. Shugyoku Fujisawa. She placed a piece of paper about the size of a half-sheet horizontally and wrote vertically.
Students from University of Bologna and other universities observed the calligraphy performance, seeing it for the first time.
Ms. Fujisawa wrote, “My head had a horn, and when it hit something, it broke, and I understood.” It seems to mean that something you do not notice becomes clear when you meet someone.
Next was Ms. Hogyoku Tachibana. She appeared wearing a hanten (happy coat) with her family crest. Hanten is traditionally used as work wear, but with the introduction of Matsuri Hanten, they are now known as festival wear. Since this exhibition is called the Italy-Japan Art Friendship Festival, it seemed a fitting choice for the event.
Ms. Tachibana then moved on to writing, displaying her true colors as a calligrapher. She wrote, “The fragrance of the dark soil feels nostalgic in the summer light.”
The nostalgia for the scent of the earth may express the feeling that nature still has happiness in store for us.
Finally, we welcomed Ms. Keisen Komatsu. She is a very lively person, and it shows in her calligraphy.
Ms. Komatsu commenced the finale of the calligraphy performance in Bologna, Italy. She wrote in strong, dark ink, with brush strokes in what might be called the Komatsu’s broken style, and while Japanese eyes must have wondered what was being written, the Italians seemed to be drawn in by the brush strokes and Komatsu’s movements.
The word that appeared on the paper was ADVANCE. In face of COVID-19, considered a natural and man-made disaster, and the economic turmoil, we thought it was the artist’s call to move forward, even if only one step at a time.
After the calligraphy performance, three calligraphers gave a calligraphy class, a traditional oriental culture, for the University of Bologna students and other Italians who came to the event.
Dr. Petrioli’s words of thanks to the Japanese artists
First, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the Japanese artists. Here in Bologna, we don’t often get to see performances of the Japanese art of calligraphy and, therefore, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to them from the bottom of my heart for giving us this precious opportunity.
I understand that the art of calligraphy rendered by these three calligraphers is not only about writing letters, but also reflects their hearts and minds.
Thank you for showing such great art today not only to people of Bologna alone, but also to all people of Italy.
On Sunday, November 20, 2022, nine out of those artists, who submitted their art works, and their accompanying persons left for Bologna from Narita Airport and Kansai International Airport to participate in the art exhibition and other related events at Sala Museale Possati of the Comlessa del Baraccano under the management of University of Bologna.
Those two groups, which left Narita and Kansai airports respectively, met at Dubai Airport for a change of flight, arriving safely at Bologna Airport on the following day and checked in at a hotel for a good night’s sleep.
Tour of Teatro Anatomico at University of Bologna
The photo above shows tour participants posing for a commemorative photo at the University of Bologna’s Teatro Anatomico.
The table in the foreground is where the specimens to be dissected are placed. Then, we moved on to Sala dello Stabat Mater in the same building. This was the auditorium of Faculty of Law, a place normally inaccessible to visitors with a huge number of historically valuable books.
Tour of Dozza
On the morning of the day for opening ceremony, we visited the walled city with its medieval ambience. The charm of this city lies in the modern art painted on the walls of historical buildings. I am sure the group enjoyed their visit.
Tour of Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna
After the workshop at Comlessa del Baraccano, the group moved to the Picture Gallery. The participants appreciated historical artworks under the guidance and commentary by Dr. Petrioli.
* The Commemorative Exhibition of the Artworks Donated to the City of Bologna was held in conjunction with the Italy-Japan Friendship Art Festival at Comlessa del Baraccano (Sala Museale Possati) as scheduled and the artworks were handed over to the City of Bologna. The exhibition was announced in Comune di Bologna, and many visitors came to the exhibition after getting the information online.
Special exhibition of works by Professor Daniele Sasson, who passed away in 2021
Message from the professor’s wife
Dear Friends, I regret to inform you that I will not be able to attend the exhibition’s opening for family reasons. I am honored to have been invited and infinitely grateful for your consideration given to my husband, Daniele Sasson. He spoke highly of your artists’ organization and considered you as his friends. I love how you create your artwork, sharing Japanese culture with the rest of the world.
I hope to see you all in the future and wish you all the best.
Beatrice Cappelli Sasson