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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

Toko Nuburi Exhibition

(Japanese translation below)

The Toko Nuburi Exhibition was held from Sept. 30 to Nov. 12 at Kushiro City Art Museum and the admission was free. This exhibition displayed about 40 of his masterpieces.

Toko Nuburi (1937-2014) was born in Kushiro. After graduating from junior high school he made accessories and wooden bear sculptures. Later he applied for an apprenticeship to Tasuke Yamamoto, a traditional Ainu artist in Kushiro. After that, he went to Asahikawa in pursuit of knowledge. In 1954, he came back to Kushiro and became an independent artist.

While he was in Asahikawa he met the Ainu sculptor Bikki Sunazawa, and it was the beginning of a deep friendship. Sunazawa influenced him greatly, and he stopped making accessories. Thanks to the help of many people, he was able to hold a private exhibition of his wood carvings in Ginza, Tokyo in 1962.

He made use of tree bark and created the image of the God Chikisani Kamui (Goddess of spring elm) from an epic Ainu story. Toko would breathe life into a tree by creating an image from the tree. He felt it was very important to sit face to face with the tree and listen to find the form while communicating with the tree. Mostly, he thought long and hard about how to proceed, which determined the direction of his creations.

He carved an epic story of the Ainu. It shows how they see the whole world as a God. He carved owls and female figures in the piece. The flowing curves and powerful straight lines come together smoothly. Toko’s artworks are not shown very often, so the next time there is an exhibition you should make every effort to see it.


内海 雄介

床ヌブリ展は9月30日から11月30日まで観覧料無料で、釧路市立美術館で開催された。この展示では彼の代表作約40点展示された。床ヌブリ (1937-2014) は釧路市で生まれた。中学校を卒業した後、熊の彫刻やアクセサリーを作っていた。その後、釧路在住のアイヌの伝統工芸家である山本たすけに弟子入りした。後に、旭川に修行へ出て、1954年に釧路に戻り独立した。




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