Sadao Watanabe (1913-1996)

"Flight into Egypt", Stencil, 1978

Sadao Watanabe is a prominent Japanese printmaker whose technique was derived from a traditional Okinawan craft. He was first recognized abroad, after winning first prize at the Modern Japanese Print Exhibition in New York, with his entry, "The Bronze Serpent". His works can be found in the National Museum of Modern art in Tokyo.

Sadao was born in Tokyo in 1913 and converted to Christianity when he was 17. His neighbor, a primary school teacher invited him to attend church with her. At first he was wary of the Christianity since he felt that it had the "smell of butter",the graphic Japanese expression referring to something unpleasantly foreign. When he was in his late 20's he joined a famous group of artisans of traditional textile dyeing and printing. It was there where he met Serizawa Keisuke, who became his teacher.

 

He became one of the founding members of ACAA in 1978. Aside from this, he was also a member of the Christian Art Association in Japan. Through his prints, he was able to express his Christianity in a Japanese context. His artworks were all rooted from Japanese culture, from its Okinawan based process to its mulberry paper and soybean milk pigments.

 

 

 

 

Sadao Watabe, A Personal Memoir by Anne Pyle.
Image 73. 1997. pp 2-5

 

Sadao Watanabe. Image 67. Asian Christian Arts Association.
1996. p3

 

 

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