It’s quite rare for an artist to have a namesake museum, and even rarer for the museum to find its place in the skilled hands of foreign philanthropists. Itchiku Kubota’s museum housed an extensive collection of over 104 ‘phantom fabrics’ that have gone on to inspire and revitalise the textile painting scene. Through an unexpected stroke of good luck and with the help of international supporters, Kubota’s legacy managed to live on in his works and continues to be toured worldwide to this day.
The artist behind the kimonos
Itchiku Kubota’s pieces are a testament to the artist’s spirit. His rediscovery of the traditional art style of Tsujigahana has made him the contemporary pioneer of kimono paintings. The Tsujigahana is a decorative technique made up of brush painting and embroidery on kimono fabric which was developed in the 18th century. Through his introduction of modern colour palettes and modern painting designs, he was able to bring his pieces to the public limelight in 1977 in Tokyo, which then received national and worldwide acclaim shortly after.
Worldwide critical acclaim
Its signature piece is the “Symphony of Light” which is a collection of 36 pieces depicting the beauty of the heavenly sky and the universe. From the intended 80 kimonos, only a fraction of them was finished due to Kubota’s untimely passing back in 2003. The Kimonos stand as Kubota’s legacy which has since then become a piece of art worthy of being toured and recognised all around the world. The works have gone on to receive critical acclaim by being shown around the globe with destinations such as Moscow, New York, Canada, and even plans to visit France and the United Arab Emirates.
The ICF and the great rescue
The International Chodiev Foundation was founded by philanthropist and business tycoon Dr Patokh Chodiev. The organisation was established to perform functions through donating to charity organisations, funding scholarships and many more. As an aficionado of Japanese art, the good doctor could not let the pieces be separated due to an unfortunate concern over bankruptcy back in 2010. The museum owners were forced to consider the auctioning of the pieces, as they would not have one museum to call home. After Chodiev’s purchase of the artworks, they have since been a marker of Japan-Russia relations by being a centrepiece in various worldwide tours of the Itchiku Tsujigahana exhibits together with their appearances in J-Fest; which is a festival that occurs in Russia celebrating the collaboration and presentation of Japanese culture to the Russian demographic.
Were it not for Dr Patokh Chodiev’s charity foundation, The 104 pieces of Itchiku Tsujigahana would have been lost and separated. By a somewhat miraculous act, by saving the museum, Dr Patokh Chodiev managed to bring the two nations together as an act of solidarity between the two nations, which continues to be reliable and concrete proof that the appreciation of art can bring countries together.