Tohoku 2011 disaster remembered

The handicraft on display represent mainly the genres of pottery, ceramics,lacquerware, textiles, metalwork, and wood and bamboo crafts PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The handicraft on display represent mainly the genres of pottery, ceramics,lacquerware, textiles, metalwork, and wood and bamboo crafts PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Botswana and Japan have teamed up to remember the 2011Tohoku disaster. In order to mark the March 11 anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami, Japanese Embassy in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development recently opened a travelling exhibition.

Known as  “beautiful handicrafts of Tohoku, Japan” the event is currently ongoing at National Museum’s Octagon Gallery. The exhibition will be running until May 26, 2019.

Speaking during the opening ceremony this week, Japanese ambassador to Botswana, Kozo Takeda explained that the travelling exhibitions are co-organised by the Japan Foundation and Japan’s diplomatic missions abroad with the cooperation of art galleries, museums and cultural organisations in each country. 

Takeda said the Tohoku region is the northeastern part of Japan well known for its rich culture and history. The region suffered damage and destruction of unprecedented proportions in 2011 because of the Tsunami and earthquake.

“Much was lost and manufacturing and handicraft culture were the most devastated. People in local areas affected by the disaster have been working together to rebuild,” he revealed.

Takeda observed that the beautiful handicrafts of Tohoku exhibition reminds people of the distinctive appeal of Tohoku’s heritage of arts and craft. He posited that the exhibition is a rare occasion for Batswana since it’s an opportunity for them to see and appreciate genuine Japanese handicrafts without travelling to Japan.

For his part, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Tshekedi Khama emphasised the value of art and crafts in the world. “The worldwide market for Art was worth 526.5 billion US dollar in 2017.  It is expected to reach 984.8 billion US dollar by 2023,” he said.

Khama said the exhibition highlights the vibrant and important role crafts play in the development of the creative sector.

“This is a very significant development for the visual arts in Botswana. It places our country on a higher podium and fosters strategic partnerships in preserving and promoting our cultural heritage,” he said. The other purpose is to communicate visually aspects of our humanity that cannot be fully expressed through words. Additionally, the exhibition is a testimony of a good working relationship between Batswana and the Japanese community, Tshekedisaid.

The handicraft works on display represent mainly the genres of pottery, ceramics, lacquerware, textiles, metalwork, wood and bamboo crafts. Antique works baked in kilns were established during the Edo period and the original works by individual artists of more recent times.

In addition, traditional craftwork of the containers and textiles, the exhibition presents works created by artists inspired by the stunning craftsmanship of folk crafts reflect the cultural climate and spirit of Tohoku.

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