Not many artists have the talent to reinvent and popularise an ancient art form. Few have tried their hand at innovating textile technologies by incorporating modern colours to traditional art forms, one such artist that received success in revitalising an art form was Itchiku Kubota. Through his research and dedication to a 16th-century art form, he was able to preserve and modernise the tsujigahana which is now enjoyed by patrons worldwide.

The life and times of Itchiku Kubota

Mesmerised after seeing a tsujigahana, a traditional decorative art pattern, at the young age of 20, he dedicated his life to figuring out the secrets of the art form. As it was a relatively old technique, there were no instructions on how it was made or done. His research led him to discover the secrets of the method, which he reinvented by applying contemporary synthetic dyes to colour his designs.

In 1962, he developed his tsujigahana which used the processes of resist-dyeing, applied metallic leaf, brush painting, and embroidery of contemporary silk crepe fabric. His unique creations carry the label Itchiku tsujigahana in honour of his reinvention of the traditional art form. After its first exhibit in Tokyo in 1977, his works’ popularity sent waves throughout Japan and even across the world. Later in his life, he dreamed to have his kimonos be seen and enjoyed by the public; this would materialise in the creation of the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum located near Lake Kawaguchi in 1994.

Close to Bankruptcy and the International Chodiev Foundation

Though his pieces were saved and preserved after his untimely death back in 2003, his namesake museum was struggling financially to keep its doors open to the public. In 2010, the Itchiku Kubota museum was about to reach bankruptcy which would inevitably force its unique collection to be auctioned off to private collectors or nearby museums. Thanks to an act of goodwill and a momentous step to preserve the integrity of the art, the efforts of the Patokh Chodiev charity and the International Chodiev Foundation managed to save the entire collection from being separated. After purchasing all 104 of Kubota’s works, he was able to preserve these pieces and is now spearheading the goal to promote the unique fusion of Japanese tradition and modern artistry by showing the pieces around the world.

Touring around the world

Since ICF's purchase back in 2010, Kubota's series of 36 kimonos have been on tour around the world. With exhibits planned for the United Arab Emirates and even as far as France, Kubota's collection has experienced worldwide traction even since his passing. Currently on display at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum until September, Kubota’s dream of having his pieces enjoyed has reached beyond Japan and across the globe with exhibits planned to go farther from home than he ever expected them to, even after his passing.Learn more air compressor for home garage.

 

Published by Karen Anthony