Gallery friend Leonie Hill with Japanese sandals next to Yaeko Niitsu’s Parasols 3, 4 and 5.
Gallery friend Leonie Hill with Japanese sandals next to Yaeko Niitsu’s Parasols 3, 4 and 5. Alistair Brightman

Gallery hosts Japanese art

A STATE of calm envelops you as you walk into the No No Hana exhibition at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery.

The dimmed lighting, cool air and soft music are enough to entice you to want to sit right there on the gallery floor and meditate.

But you don’t, of course; you’re there to admire the works created by Japanese artist Yaeko Niitsu.

Indigo-dyed textile pieces, including parasols and cushions, adorn the walls and hang from the ceiling.

The subtle patterns in each work depict the wildflowers that grow at the foothills of the mountains near Niitsu’s home in Nasu Shiobara-city in Tochigi prefecture, on the island of Honshu.

It is a traditional Japanese technique which Niitsu started practising to raise awareness of the Saitama Prefecture Ecosystem Protection Society, of which she was a member for several years.

“I didn’t start my career in the craft of indigo dyeing until I was in my 40s,” Niitsu says.

“I love nature and was saddened in watching the extinction of animals and plants around us. To help promote the society, I started dyeing and craft-making using materials from nature. It has now become my life work.”

Also part of the exhibition are Niitsu’s koppie characters which feature in her children’s book, Bush of the Forest. The delightful tiny cloth creatures cover their crazy hair with hats and wear Japanese sandals.

Those sandals, known as zori, are also in adult sizes for gallery visitors to buy. Made of bulrushes grown in Japan, the hand-woven zori were initially meant to be a part of the exhibition but were held up in Australian customs.

No No Hana will be at the gallery until March 27.



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