Spring 2007 Exhibition
Tracing the Silk Road with Ikuo Hirayama: The Legacies of East-West Cultural Exchange
March 27 – May 19, 2007
"The Silk Road" is the romantic name given to a series of trading routes that stretched from Mediterranean Europe, through the Middle East, to East Asia. For well over a millennium, beginning approximately 100 BCE, the Silk Road provided the primary means by which material goods and cultural concepts passed from place to place, bringing Chinese silk to ancient Rome and Buddhism from India to China and Japan, alongside other goods and ideas. Cultural and material exchanges left their marks from East to West, transforming and intertwining the civilizations in-between. The products and remains of these exchanges can still be seen in the ruins and preserved sites that line the traces of the Silk Road today.
Ikuo Hirayama, Japan's most celebrated living painter, has made these sites of cultural interchange along the Silk Road the focus of both his artwork and philanthropic missions. In this, his first American exhibition, the Clark Center presents forty-six of Hirayama's nihonga-style paintings, arranged geographically from the cultural sites of Hirayama's homeland, influenced by Silk Road exchange, through those of China, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Greece and Italy, following the westward course of the old Silk Road. Along the way, Hirayama presents his artistic vision of the people, historical artifacts and famous ruins he discovered on his own many personal journeys along this ancient trade highway. Believing that cultural sites embody a legacy of meaning and worldview from which contemporary people can draw strength, Hirayama has devoted much of his resources and energies to the preservation and recognition of the importance of these sites.
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 1 – 5 pm. Closed on national holidays and during the month of August.