Urushi Uruwashi Exhibition

New Vibrance in International Women's Urushi Art

  • Urushi (lacquer) is the natural sap of certain Asian trees. Urushi has been for thousands of years in the arts and crafts of Asian peoples. There is a long history of cultural exchange between peoples sharing urushi culture in Asia and elsewhere. In the twenty-first century it is important to continue the exchange of ideas on urushi art while understanding and celebrating the differences in our histories, cultures, and life styles. Women have a special affinity with urushi and its arts and crafts. Some of its earliest uses, for example, were for combs, hairpins, cosmetic tools and boxes, and of course, jewellery. Therefore, this exhibition brings together 32 women artists from around the world. The exhibition in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Fukushima in 2012 affords the opportunity for these artists from different backgrounds, cultures, and situations to display their works together, to exchange their technique, knowledge, and experience about urushi, and to demonstrate the vibrancy and freshness contemporary urushi art.
  • Our group of women urushi artists first came together in September 1999 at an exhibition at the Central Design and Art Academy in Beijing. At that time, Chinese, Korean, French, and Japanese urushi artists participated. We found the experience of sharing our knowledge and love of this medium to be rewarding. Eleven years later, in October 2010 eight women urushi artists again exhibited together in Beijing. For this year’s exhibition, we have expanded our group to include prominent artists from the traditional urushi cultures of Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar as well as those practicing this art the United States and Spain. In exhibiting our artwork in Japan, we will be sharing our experiences as women urushi artists with a wide and knowledgeable audience. We plan to continue these exchanges in the future.
  • Concurrent with the exhibitions, International Exchange Events will be held at Tokyo University of the Arts and at Kyoto City University of Arts. Each event includes a symposium consisting of artists’ talks and lectures as well as workshops and performances. The International Exchange Events will allow the artists to discuss their art, to exchange information on the state of the urushi art and culture in their countries, to learn new techniques, and to build personal and professional bonds. These events will be open to the public. The Fukushima Exhibition will to express our group’s solidarity with the people of the Tohoku region.

Past Activities

  • 1999 September, Women’s Urushi Art Exhibition/ Central Design and Art Academy exhibition hall, Beijing
  • 2010 October, International Women’s Urushi Art Exhibition Beijing /Qiao Gallery, 798 Art District, Beijing
  • 2011 October-November, KIZUNA Project - Female Urushi Artists' Solidarity with the People of Tohoku/ Aizu Urushi Festival

Exhibition Date and Place

Tokyo Exhibition

  • Yamawaki Gallery
  • September 14 - October 1, 2012 (Sundays and National Holidays closed) 11:00am~6:00pm
    • Address: 4-8-21 Kudan Minami, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.
    • URL: http://yamawaki-gallery.com
    • Symposium (artists’ talk, lecture, performances) at Tokyo University of the Arts
  • September 29th (SAT)
    • 13:30~15:20 Symposium – Artists’ Talk and Discussion
    • Moderator: Kazuko TODATE
    • “Women in urushi art - An international perspective (各国の漆事情と表現)“
    • (Lecture Room 3 at Tokyo University of the Arts)
    • 15:30~ 16:00 Performance (Sha Sha Higby)
    • (comprehensive workshop building multipurpose lounge 2F at Tokyo University of the Arts)
  • October 2nd (TUE)
    • 10:00~12:00 Seminar
    • A presentation of urushi techniques from each country.
    • (Lecture Room 3 at Tokyo University of the Arts)

Kyoto Exhibition

  • Gallery of Kyoto City University of Arts @KCUA
  • October 6 - 21, 2012
    • (Mondays closed, except on. 8 October open. Tue. 9 October closed)
    • 11:00am~7:00pm
    • Address: 238-1 Oshiaburakoji-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto.
    • URL: http://www.kcua.ac.jp/gallery/
  • October 6th (SAT)
    • 13:30〜15:20 Symposium - Artist Talk and Discussion
    • Moderator: Kazuko TODATE
    • “Women in urushi art – The properties and characteristics of urushi (漆素材の特性と表現)”
    • 15:30~16:00 Performance (Sha Sha Higby)
  • October 7th (SUN)
    • 14:00~14:45 Artists talk
    • 15:00~17:00 A Workshop of makie technique by Japanese artists.

Fukushima Exhibition

  • Kitakata City Museum of Art
  • October 27 - November 25, 2012(Wednesday closed) 10:00am~6:00pm
    • Address: 2-2 Oshikiri Kitakata City, Fukushima.
    • Admission Fee: Adult 500yen, High School/University Student 300yen, Elementary and Junior High 200yen
    • URL: http://www.city.kitakata.fukushima.jp/bijyutsukan
  • October 27th
    • 13:30~ Artists talk
    • 14:30~ Performance (Sha Sha Higby)

Exhibition Details

  • 1) Artists and Works: Thirty-two women contemporary urushi artists from China, France, Korea, Myanmar, Spain, Thailand, USA, Vietnam, and Japan. Sixty-four works will be exhibited.
  • 2) Poster display: A profile of each artist and an overview of urushi art in each country.
  • 3) Catalogue: All the exhibited work and an overview of urushi art and culture worldwide. (Japanese and English)
  • 4) International Exchange Event:
    • ・Symposium
      • Artists’ talk, Lecture, Presenter: TOADATE Kazuko, and urushi artists
    • ・Performances - Sha Sha Higby
    • ・Workshops and Seminar


  • - Resonant Uruwashi Exhibition Executive Committee
    • Tokyo Office
    • MATSUSHIMA Sakurako : Utsunomiya University, 350 Minemachi, Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan
    • E-mail: info@urushi-uruwashi.com
    • Kyoto Office
    • SASAI Fumie : Kyoto City University of Arts, 13-6 Kutsukake-cho, Oe, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan
    • E-mail: info@urushi-uruwashi.com
  • - Kyoto City University of Arts
  • - Kitakata City Museum of Art
  • - Tokyo University of the Arts, Faculty of FIne Arts
  • - Yamawaki Bijutsu Senmon Gakuin


  • Embassy of China, Embassy of Korea - Korean Cultural Center, Embassy of The United States, Ambassade de France au Japon, Royal Thai Embassy
  • The Japan Arts Council, Union Foundation, Toshiba International Foundation, Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research, The Kao Foundation for Arts and Science, Nomura Foundation, Asahi Shinbun Foundation, Aizu Urushi Art Festival