‘Reflections of Japan in East Riding’ is an exhibition showing cultural connections between Japan and East Yorkshire using the collections of East Riding of Yorkshire Museums Service. The Service comprises collections at Beverley Art Gallery, Sewerby Hall and Goole. The exhibition will take place in Beverley Art Gallery and is curated by Helena Cox. Ms Cox has previously worked as a curator of the Japanese Collection at the National Museum in Prague, Czech Republic, where she co-curated a major exhibition on Japanese traditional toys and co-authored a book about the subject. Helena will be using her long standing research interest in Japan to bring together artwork and stories from across East Yorkshire and beyond relating to Japanese culture and its perception in the region.
The exhibition will consist of two main sections. The first section will show a selection of artwork and Japan-related items from the Museum’s collections. These are mainly linked to the founder of the gallery, John Champney, who was connected to the phenomenon of Japonism; and the aviator Amy Johnson, who brought a number of traditional artworks from her travels to Japan in 1931.
The second part of the exhibition will showcase a private collection from East Yorkshire of Japanese traditional toys and craft items, dating mainly to the first half of the 20th century. Japanese traditional toys reflect a whole array of aesthetic as well as religious, historical and philosophical principles comprising Japanese culture. The exhibition will elaborate on all of these aspects, and use the toys and craft items to introduce various aspects of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture to a local audience.
As part of the exhibition, a collaboration with Hull University (UK) and Ochanomizu university (Tokyo, Japan) has been established. Japanese exchange students from Ochanomizu University will collaborate with Beverley Art Gallery and Hull University to create a video about the contemporary Japanese perception of toys. The video will be shot using the collection as well as exhibition items at Beverley Art Gallery and will form part of the display.