A glimse into Aomori’s artsy side – Munakata Shiko
Munakata Shiko (1903 -1975) is one of Aomori’s most noted artists. Born and raised in Aomori City, his artistic interest developed throughout his elementary school years, and by the time he was a high school student Munakata decided that he was to become ‘the next van Gogh of Aomori.’ The ambitious Munakata was originally captured by oil painting. However, after he was deeply influenced by woodblock print artist, Kawakami Sumio, his artistic focus shifted and he began woodcarving.
Munakata received several awards for his work and was internationally acknowledged when he was awarded a special prize at the 1952 International Woodblock Print Exhibition in Switzerland.
Munakata’s works are displayed internationally, but if you find yourself in Aomori City, the Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum of Art is a nice option to directly immerse in Aomori’s art culture.
The museum pamphlet highlights just a few of Munkata’s noted works.
The museum has several exhibitions running throughout the year, typically changing with the season. The current spring exhibition through June 20 features many of Munakata’s works that highlight influences from nature.
The museum is encompassed by a beautiful garden and the design of the museum itself imitates an architecture style called ‘Azekura’ that was quite popular during the Nara period.
Although the garden has just started peeking out from the snow, with spring just around the corner, the museum is bound to be a popular spring attraction.
The Aomori Museum of Art is also a great place to grab a glimpse at Munakata’s work. But, keep your eyes wide open as you travel through the prefecture, because Munakata’s influence is often just around the corner. As Zack mentioned in a previous entry on art in Towada, even store front designs are showing Munakata imitations.
The Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum of Art website has great English information about the gallery and access.
Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum of Art
Open Tuesday – Sunday
Hours 9:30 – 17:00
Admission 400 yen.
15 minute taxi from Aomori Station. Also accessable by bus.