Posting Date: September 8, 2009
Visual arts students see Japan
By Jarmea L. Boone
Japanese art covers everything from ancient pottery and wood and bronze sculptures to cartoons and ink painting on silk. Painting is the preferred artistic expression in Japan, practiced by amateurs and professionals alike, and the Japanese brushstroke is considered a valuable contribution to the aesthetics of painting. Japanese ceramics are among the finest in the world and include the earliest known artifacts of the culture. To see Japanese art up close in its own environment is usually an expensive, elite and time-consuming venture.
But this is not so for a group of KSU art students. Sponsored by the Department of Visual Arts at Kennesaw State University, ten students were able to study abroad in Japan on July 13-31. Part-time Assistant Professor Yuling Huang proposed and organized the first aboard trip to Japan last year and plans to make the excursion an annual alternative for student learning.
The students who accompanied Huang attended a one-week class before taking off for Japan in the summer. During the class, the students not only learned about the trip itself, but were also instructed specifically on Japan’s culture and art.
“The purpose of the trip was to visit historical sites in Japan and to see Japanese art, culture and its people,” says Huang. “Japanese art makes inferences to Western art, so I wanted the students to be able to feel it firsthand. It was an overall happy experience for all of us.”
According to Huang, one of the highlights of the trip was when the group visited the dormant volcano, Mount Fuji, known as Japan’s highest mountain. “We also went to two universities where our students were able to meet Japanese students,” she says.
This proved memorable for students, as did some of the other site visits during the trip. “One of my most memorable moments was that I got to talk and interact with the people there,” says sophomore Julianne Trew. “I made friends at the colleges we visited. Another of my favorite experiences was going to the top of Tokyo Tower. You really get a sense of just how unfathomably huge Tokyo is. The view was astounding.”
Huang is pleased that she has been given the opportunity to make this trip a reality for students. It will give students the ability to enhance their living and learning processes while still in school. “I have an early background in Japanese art,” says Trew. “When I was young, I was introduced to Japanese art first through anime, and then my interests shifted to woodblock prints and the textile arts. But going on this trip was absolutely mind blowing because I got to see and learn so much about Japanese art. I understand and appreciate it more now. This trip opened a whole new world for me.”