IWAO AKIYAMA was born in 1921 on the southern island of
Japan, Kyushu, where he grew up in the countryside. AKIYAMA tells
us in his own words how he began to learn to become an artist:
"I was raised in a beautiful village where I could see the volcano,
Mount Aso and other high mountains. When I looked at the canyons
among the mountains, they looked to me like beautiful paintings.
I remember that I started to draw at the age of 8. In my village
there was my family's temple. An old Buddhist priest took care of
the temple, he was also an artist of ink painting, called 'Suibokuga'.
In front of my home temple, there is a stream and behind it mountains;
the temple grounds was a good playground for us kids. Sometimes,
when I lost interest in play, I went to the main temple where the
old priest was drawing. I watched for a while. One day, when I was
watching, as usual, he asked me: "Iwao, do you like drawing?"
I answered: "Yes, I like it, but I can't do it very well."
The Priest said: "Iwao, let's try; you can draw well if you want
to" and he said: "I will teach you".
That day was the first day of my drawing lesson. I started learning
on that day. My teacher said: "You have to learn your drawing on
old newspaper" and he gave me old newspaper, brushes and ink.
At first he taught me to draw repeatedly: straight lines, circles,
squares and triangles. I went to the temple every 3 days for my
lesson - the priest was strict and for 3 months all I was allowed
to draw were straight lines, circles, squares and triangles. After
3 months he began to teach me how to draw trees, grasses and mountains
and I was allowed to use cheap white paper. My lessons were about
3 hours long; after the lesson my teacher gave me a little snack
of food that was actually offering for the temple. In that way I
learned drawing until I was 15 years old, under his direction. I
never lost interest in my lessons."
AKIYAMA went on to study art in High School and Art School, but
it was only after the War, when new art and cultural influences
came to Japan from America and Europe, that he was able to concentrate
seriously on producing Art. It was at that time that he met the
famous Japanese Artist SHIKO MUNAKATA and that was when AKIYAMA
decided to become a Woodblock Print Artist.
Today, AKIYAMA is a famous Artist in Japan. His Works are widely
known and loved. Recently a monument was erected in his honor on
the Island of Kyushu.
AKIYAMA recently said: "Now, I am over 80 years old, but I am still
searching for my philosophy and always searching for my inspiration
for my Hanga (Prints). I have applied myself to the study of folklore
and of Buddhism. I will listen to my Hanga, always."
||Born in Takeda City, Oita prefecture, Kyushu
island, Southern Japan.
||Graduate of Taiheiyo Art School. After that he
studied under Shiko Munakata, Teijiro Fuse and Hanjiro Sakamoto.
||First exhibit in the College Women's Association
of Japan (CWAJ) Print Show. Since then he has exhibited at this
Show every year; the year 2002 was his 36th year at the CWAJ
||Group Exhibition of 4 students of Shiko Munakata.
||AKIYAMA has exhibited in over 250
one-man Shows in major cities in Japan and in more than 15 Shows
abroad. Recent Shows in the USA were in San Francisco and in
Seattle in 2002.
National Museum of England, London
The National Museum of Scotland
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Museum of Japanese Art, Haifa, Israel
Cincinnati Museum of Art, USA
||Member of Fine Artist Association