The Nippon Club Presents Wood Sculptures by Takaoki Tajima

Wood Sculptures by Takaoki Tajima: An Amusing World of Little Wooden Creatures

Thursday, January 23rd through Wednesday, February 5

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 23 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

The Nippon Gallery at The Nippon Club – 145 West 57th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues), 7th Floor

Admission: Free

The Nippon Club will present the first overseas exhibition of Takaoki Tajima. The exhibition will include around 50 of the sculptor’s comical and cute creatures, drawings, and oil paintings.

About Takaoki Tajima

Tajima is one of the most popular sculptors in Japan. Two years ago, he became the first sculptor in the history of Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi to sell all of his exhibited works at his solo exhibition. Born into a family of five generations of sculptors who specialized in making Buddha statues, Tajima first held a chisel before his first birthday. His great-grandfather trained his grandfather, who added the philosophy of modern sculpture to the techniques of creating Buddha statues. In addition to carving Buddha Statues, Tajima’s grandfather also energetically produced portraits of people in the Taisho Era. Tajima’s father, Yoshiro, also became a sculptor.

Carving His Own Path

Overcoming the pressure of following in the footsteps of a long line of talented sculptors, Tajima created his own unique world. His works range from marionettes to figurative art to realistic female figures. For more than 25 years, he has produced more than 1,000 statues, most of which have not sold. Five years ago, after posting carvings of animals or food that fit in the palm of his hand on Twitter, it immediately trended. Many people responded, saying, “The statues are so cute and we smile instinctively.”

His most popular works are the little, two-heads-tall wooden creatures. They are known as acharaka, or “hilarious works.” They embody the concept of kawaii, or “cute,” but they also serve an important role in the world of modern art, expressing Japanese culture. When Tajima carves a small creature out of wood, paints colors on it, and draws eyes and other features, the creature gains a soul as if it were alive.

The opening reception features a talk by Tajima (in Japanese with an English interpreter). Guests can enjoy Japanese sake and chikuwa, a tube-shaped fish paste cake, which is a motif of Tajima’s work. To RSVP to the opening reception, please send an email to yhonda@nipponclub.org.

Shidoro-Modoro Sculpture Workshop: Let’s Create Chikuwa

Instructor: Takaoki Tajima, sculptor

When: Saturday, January 25 from 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. (Capacity: 20 people)

Participation Fee: $30/$20 Nippon Club member

Material Fee: $35 (including a block of camphor tree, beeswax, acrylic paints, etc.)

What to bring: Cut-resistant gloves and an apron

About The Nippon Club

The Nippon Club is located at 145 W. 57th Street

Hours: Monday through Friday: 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., Saturday: 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Sunday: Closed

Website: nipponclub.org

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