Japanese Prints exhibition leaves an online legacy

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

Following a successful appeal to conserve and care for the prints in our collection, throughout 2018 and 2019 we ran a series of three exhibitions called Masters of Japanese Prints.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery has around 500 ‘floating world pictures’ (ukiyo-e) which celebrate the pleasures of life in Japan and the collection ranks in the top five regional UK collections.

You’ll be pleased to hear that all three exhibitions – Hokusai and Hiroshige landscapes, Life in the city and Nature and seasons – are now available to view online.

Whether you missed any part of the exhibition, or just want to spend more time with these exquisite prints, the online exhibition gives you the opportunity to delve into the stories behind the artwork and further explore our collections. The online exhibition is an important legacy as it allows people to continue engaging with our work long after the physical exhibition has ended.

Our exhibition also inspired poetry from around the world!

In September we held an event called Haiku: the one breath poetry with Call of the Page, a small creative writing organisation specialising in Japanese poetry. Ahead of this event, they ran an online ‘Poetry Portal’ and accepted Haiku submissions inspired by our Japanese prints. Haiku writers from all over the world sent in their poems, about 800 in total.

You can read four of them below. We plan to add a selection of others to our online exhibition.

Sudden Shower in the Summer Heat by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

A Japanese Print featuring three women sheltering from the rain under umbrellas

sudden shower
every puddle sets free
the child in me
Vandana Parashar, India

summer rain
our umbrellas shall dance
with or without us
Isabel Caves, New Zealand

Cherry Blossoms in full bloom at Arashiyama by Utagawa Hiroshige I

A Japanese Print of two men sailing down a river surrounded by Cherry Blossom treesfull bloom –
a boatman inhales
his lost childhood
Goran Gatalica, Croatia

the boatmen and i
view the cherry blossoms
in time, out of time
Mary Jo Balistreri, USA

Work like this demonstrates that exhibitions can have an impact far beyond the walls of the museum, particularly when made accessible to as many people as possible. Thank you for your support – without those first donations to conserve the prints, these poems may never have been written.

None of this work would have been possible without the generous support of Simon Baker, John and Susan Hart,Shelagh Cutner, Roger Feneley, The Davidson Charitable Trust, Sir James and Lady Virginia Tidmarsh, Katherine Croft, Dr and Mrs Hibberd, as well as the many Friends of Bristol Art Gallery members and our Treasure readers who supported the appeal and exhibition.

Together we raised almost £20,000. Thank you, we couldn’t do it without you.

Visit the online exhibition.

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