Amy Katoh: Mottainai

October 16 - 30, 2011

Fukagawa bansho gallery
Tokiwa1-1-1-2F, Koto-ku, Tokyo, JPN

深川番所ギャラリーでは、2011年10月16日から30日まで、加藤エイミー「Mottainai」展を開催いたします。加藤エイミーは日本を旅して出会った様々な民芸品に魅了され、1975年に麻布十番に和雑貨店「Blue&White」をオープンさせました。また、著書「Otafuku: Joy of Japan」(2005)や「Blue and White Japan」(2002)、「Japan: The Art of Living」(1999)を通じて世界中の人々に日本のユニークな文化を伝えています。本展では、使い古されたぼろや掻巻、ドラム缶や雨戸板まで、彼女の心を捉えたヘンテコで美しいコレクションをご紹介いたします。

Japan has exported many ideas, particularly aesthetic ideas, that have influenced people and thought in other countries. The one closest living and the heart is mottainai. It respects the inherent dignity in things, the soul of matter, of making do, not wasting. The sense of treasuring what there is resides deep in the Japanese heart.

The concept of mottainai underlies Japanese life, in the past and also today - use anything carefully, reuse it, or don't use it all, save it, it is too good to use. This respect for the intrinsic value of things or people or situations or events reflects the Japanese use of all materials. Frugal, resourceful, ingenious, nothing is thrown away, everything is used, and used sparingly.

There is nothing whose spirit is not honored. in food, in dress, in tools, in housing, the instinct to use what was available to live, to eat, to wear, and then to use again and yet again elicits pathos and compassion and a feeling of wonder from a later, more wasteful generation. It is also a principle whose careful parsimony fits perfectly into today's world, where the environment is at risk and the earth cries out for using precious materials sparingly, and then reusing them.

In 2005 Wangari Mathaai, the Kenyan Nobel prize winner came to Japan and embraced Mottainai and brought the concept to the UN as a rallying cry to encourage a wasteful world to treasure its diminishing resources: to respect, recycle, reuse and restore. She brought the idea to the world, as she reawakened Japan's own reappreciation of Mottainai. She died on the 25th of September of cancer at aged 71, but not before she had spread the concept of "MOTTAINAI" around the world.

Amy Katoh

Relevant exhibition
Mottainai: The Fabric of Life, Lessons in frugality from traditional Japan

November 4 - 27, 2011

Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Avenue Portland, Oregon