Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Sept. 20, 1996

Japanese artist displays his traditional banners at ISU

by Steve Sullivan
Toyohiko Inoue (pronounced E-no-oo-ay), one of only two Japanese artists still creating traditional banners and Koi fish windsocks, will display his work at Iowa State Oct. 6- 18.

Inoue will be an artist-in-residence at the College of Design Oct. 6-12. His brightly colored 30-foot banners will hang in the college's five-story atrium until Oct. 18.

The exhibit will open with "Matsuri Japanese Festival of Banners" from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6.

The festival will feature a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, Japanese music and dancing, displays of authentic kimonos from ISU's textiles and clothing collection and dolls from the Brunnier Museum collection, an origami demonstration and games for the entire family. Inoue also will demonstrate the resist and dye process he uses to create the colorful banners.

"Resist and dye is an ancient process, found in almost every culture. The Japanese have developed unique ways of doing it over many centuries," said Priscilla Sage, an art and design professor who organized Inoue's visit to Iowa State.

To create the banners, Inoue paints lines on cloth with a rice paste. The lines create a picture or design. He then paints dye within the lines he has created. The process is similar to batik, said Sage, who teaches a resist and dye course. Inoue will meet with Sage's students during his visit.

The banners, which traditionally are made for Japan's Children's Festival on May 5, illustrate ancient Japanese legends through imagery and color. Everything depicted in the banner symbolizes something, Sage said.

"We're excited to have the Brunnier Gallery's Japanese doll collection on display with the banners because it contains some of the same symbolism and characters as those depicted in the banners," Sage said.

Inoue lives in Kosai, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. Yamanashi is Iowa's sister state. Sage met Inoue during visits to Japan. Enzan, a city within Yamanashi, is a partner city with Ames.

"The sister-state and partner-city relationships add wonderful dimensions to this event," Sage said. "We are hoping school children, college students and people from throughout Iowa will come and enjoy this firsthand experience with Japanese culture."

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