Artist Ajay De, whose new exhibition The Japanese Girl opened in the city on Tuesday night, has paid a unique tribute to the devastation-hit country. The artist has created a huge Origami tree, which stands as a tribute to victims of the tsunami in Japan. And along with photographer Ritam Banerjee, De has put together photographs and paintings featuring his wife Ryoko Yoshida De in traditional Japanese garb.
Ajay De has developed a knack for going all out for his shows. His new exhibit, The Japanese Girl, opened in the city with a spectacular display of the country’s culture.
The artist created a traditional environment at his show’s opening, with red lamps and Japanese flags ushering viewers into a Zen garden.
The defining feature of the garden was a prayer tree, wherein guests were given origami papers to write their prayers on, which were then tied to the tree as per Japanese tradition.
“The tree is dedicated to those who have died or suffered in this tragedy,” says De, explaining that the event was not a fundraiser.
“There’s nothing commercial about the show. And I don’t think the people of Japan need money. The nuclear issue is what is disturbing them. Rebuilding will not be difficult because they are calm and disciplined in the face of a crisis,” he adds.
This time around, De’s muse is his Japanese wife, Ryoko Yoshida De, who opened the show with a tea ceremony.
The same tradition has also been captured in the pictures on display, which De conceptualised with photographer Ritam Banerjee. Describing his source of inspiration, De says, “I’ve tried to show her beauty and culture through my point of view as an Indian artist. This is the way I represent their traditions.”
The artist claims to have been fascinated by Japanese culture since his childhood, but never imagined having a wife from the country.
After delving deeper into her culture, De notes that there are numerous similarities between Indians and Japanese.
“They are as traditional as us, and they respect their elders a lot. Their patience and discipline are some of the things I have imbibed after marriage,” he smiles.
As an artist too, De is very happy with the intermingling of cultures. He says, “Ryoko and her culture are sources of inspiration for me as an artist. It is an interesting way to live.”