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140th Anniversary Fumio Asakura: New Perspective Connecting Past and Today with Cats

ASAKURA Fumio from Bungo-ono city in Oita played a leading role in Japanese Sculpture. Presenting mainly cat motifs from his entire career, this exhibition introduces his legacy with contemporary artists in Oita. ABE Taisuke and picture book author The Cabin Company will show their homage to ASAKURA in new perspectives. We hope this exhibition also encourages you to find Field Sculptures by ASAKURA like at the Promenade Park in Oita.

To commemorate the 140th anniversary of the birth of sculptor Asakura Fumio (1883-1964), who was born in Asaji Town, Bungo-Ono City, Oita Prefecture, the Oita Prefectural Museum of Art is holding a special exhibition '140th Anniversary Fumio Asakura: New Perspective Connecting Past and Today with Cats '.

Fumio Asakura was a thoroughly naturalistic realist and was a leading figure in the world of Japanese sculpture, leaving a significant mark. In 1948, he became the first sculptor to be awarded the Order of Cultural Merit. On the other hand, Asakura was also known as an unrivalled cat lover, leaving behind dozens of cat artworks. In 1964, he prepared the exhibition "One hundred forms of cats" to commemorate the Tokyo Olympics, but he passed away due to illness shortly before the event.

After his death, his dream of holding the exhibition came to fruition at the Asakura Museum of Sculpture in 1994 and 2017.

Most of Asakura's 'cat' works are not intended for exhibition, but are shaped like diary entries of memories of the cats that live with him. The works vividly capture the daily scenes and fleeting moments of loveliness of Asakura's beloved cats, which not only demonstrate Asakura's outstanding figurative skills, but also convey Asakura's warm feelings towards them.

The exhibition looks back on the creation of Fumio Asakura and, 140 years after his birth, welcomes artist Taisuke Abe and picture book author/artist THE CABIN COMPANY, who are based in Oita and are active in Japan and abroad, to recapture, honour and compete with Asakura and his "cats" from their perspective, with Asakura's "cat" works as the core.

Although the exhibition will be held in the museum's exhibition room, it is planned in the hope that it will also serve as an "entrance" (prologue) to the works of Fumio Asakura scattered around the city, such as the Statue of Mr. Rentaro Taki installed in Promenade Park in Oita City, and to the Fumio Asakura Museum of Sculpture (Asaji-cho, Bungo-Ono City, Oita Prefecture) and ASAKURA Museum of Sculpture (Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo), where visitors can come and see the charm of Asakura's creations and the man himself, and learn about his footprints and the impact he had on later generations.