12:00 AM, September 08, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:37 PM, September 09, 2018

Rendezvous with a living legend TETSUYA NODA

Photo: Sheikh Mehedi Morshed

Famous contemporary artist, a living legend printmaker of Japan, the nephew of eminent oil painter and muralist Hideo Noda, Tetsuya Noda is a Professor Emeritus of the Tokyo University of the Arts. Since 1968, Noda's works have been inspired by his daily life -- his family, people he knows, his children's stories and the scenery along his way.

He is celebrated for his diary series of woodblock, print and silkscreen. “Initially, many of my colleagues said not to show my private life through artworks, but now, everyone is showing off their personal photos in every possible way on social media,” says Noda. "My subjects are very usual. Everybody can do it and is doing now. He develops and retouches his pictures with pencils or brushes." 

Noda's techniques combine woodblock and mimeographed silkscreen printmaking methods based on traditional woodblock print making techniques that use water colours. On the use of photographs, Noda concluded the difference between his approach to photography and that of the pop art. He uses photo images in his works as he started to keep his own diary together with pictures since he was in primary school. He does not support imitating Western Art. “I want to express myself through my daily life. That's the reason I use photo images. I take photographs to capture subjects in an objective way,” he says. 

At the age of 28, Noda won the International Grand Prize at the Tokyo International Print Biennale for diptych dairy where he audaciously combined photography with traditional woodblock print. In 1976, he visited United Kingdom to become a judge for the 5th British International Biennial of Print. Noda started conducting workshops and lectures and representing Japan in different places with his works from the 80's.

 He further received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from London Metropolitan University in 2007, and was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by the Emperor of Japan in 2015.

Noda is an observer of the 18th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh 2018. Japan has a special connection with the AABB as they preserve the records of the programme in their museum. Noda spoke about eminent Japanese artist and theorist Okakura Tenzing, who had a close connection with Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore and others of the Indian subcontinent. “I like Tenzing the most as he inspired us not to imitate the Western Art; rather to nourish our own culture and tradition. Asian cultures have a unity in diversity,” says Noda. “This time in AABB, rather than nominating Japanese oil painters, I recommended print artists Ritsuko Takeda, Tsutomu Morita, Toshihiko Ikeda and Motoda Hishaharu as their works represent our own tradition. We have to explore different fields in order to add dynamism to the biennale.”