RIYADH: The Embassy of Japan hosted the KIRIÉ modern Japanese art exhibition and workshop in Riyadh, inviting KUBO Shu, a renowned Kirié Japanese paper cutting artist to the Saudi capital.
The exhibition is organized in partnership with Unicharm Gulf Hygienic Industries Ltd., and is being held at the Acoustic Restaurant and Art Gallery from Dec. 8 to Dec. 20, 2022.
Kubo took interest in Kirié during his years of studying architecture. He then travelled to Spain to further explore other possibilities and to create his own artistic world. With his exclusive taste for “Washi” paper (traditional Japanese paper), he creates fine-tuned work with his knife on one sheet.
Both a traditionalist and a trailblazer, Kubo told Arab News Japan: “My career exceeds 51 years this year. I wanted to try something new. When I received an invitation to hold an exhibition of my artwork in Saudi Arabia, I was happy and wanted to show people in Saudi Arabia my Kirié artwork using paper cutting out technique.”
“Nowadays in Saudi Arabia, “manga” and “anime” are widely known among Saudi people as those that represent Japanese culture, but I will be happy if this exhibition provides an opportunity for people to get to know more about Japanese art and deepen their understanding of Japanese culture,” he added.
He said that upon his return to Japan, it is very important for him to practice cultural exchanges and to tell artists in Japan about his experience in the Kingdom.
“I am planning to create artwork based on my experiences in Saudi Arabia and present it in Japan. Once it is completed, I will be happy if people in Japan take interest in Saudi Arabia through my artwork,” he said.
Speaking to Arab News Japan on the occasion, Japanese ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia IWAI Fumio said: “Japan and Saudi Arabia have been enjoying a very cordial relationship for approximately 70 years, since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1955.”
For the past five or six years, the cultural aspect has been gaining momentum, said the envoy, adding that this exhibition is important in this connection.
He added, “in his work, Mr. Kubo demonstrates a unique style of paper cutting by just using an art-knife and the traditional Washi Japanese paper. His work style is matchless, and every single masterpiece he produces is considered a product of a magical touch through his imagination.
“I am sure that through Kirié, the people in the Kingdom will experience another aspect of beauty of the Japanese culture.”
The sponsor of the exhibition is Unicharm Gulf Hygienic Industries, Ltd. (UGHI). A Riyadh based Saudi Arabian company established in 1992. UGHI products for babies, ladies and society’s seniors are found in over 25 countries in the MENA region.
Unicharm Corporation of Japan is a major shareholder of UGHI. Unicharm Corporation was established in 1961 and operates in 80 countries around the world.
Unicharm products live up to its mission to provide consumers around the world with “Gentle Care for Life”.
UGHI is the number one manufacturer of baby diapers in Saudi Arabia with “BabyJoy” commanding the number 1 share in the Saudi market.
UGHI Feminine Care brand “Sofy” and its Adult Care brand “Lifree” provide advanced technology products in both categories and have gained rapid consumer confidence.
UGHI is honored to sponsor the art exhibition of Mr. Kubo, a globally renowned Kirie Artist. This sponsorship is in line with UGHI strategy and commitment to continue its path as a socially responsible company.
During the past three decades, UGHI supported numerous public and private CSR initiatives.
Mahdy Katbe, UGHI CEO added that “sponsoring Mr. Kubo’s art exhibition in Riyadh will be another bridge to advance Saudi and Japanese cultural exchanges and is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 spanning multiple pillars among which is that of accelerating Saudi Arabia’s windows of social and cultural development across continents”.
Samar AlHashim, Owner of Acoustic Restaurant and Art Gallery expressed her happiness to host the exhibition.
“The general idea about this place is to expose, as much as possible, people to the enjoyment of art. I am very proud to have such a talented international artist whose artwork has been displayed not only in Japan, but in New York and in many other countries around the world.” she said.
Through this exhibition, people will learn more and want to further explore the Japanese culture and art because what we are seeing here is not a typical drawing, it’s a new technique based on a traditional Japanese art,” she added.