A Contemporary Japanese Art Combined Photography 
                        HIROKO  MAYA  OKAHASHI


"Renbu" Exhibition in 2010

/ RENBU STATEMENT/ Hiroko is my real name. I like to use Maya for my artist name. Maya is what my mother wanted to call me because I was born under the Maya mountain in Hyogo Prefecture in Japan. But my grandmother wanted Hiroko. I love both. I have been working on my art work for more than 20 years. Last year I wanted to paint a life-size painting of myself. I started to draw from an older picture but I could not figure out how to complete it. Then I remembered a painting I had made of a Japanese doll for a book about dolls and it inspired me. I became excited and started painting. For one whole year the canvas has been hanging on the wall of my house. I have been painting over it again and again. It has kept changing all the time. It is based on the drama. The maiden at Dojoji temple. In the old legend a young girl falls in love with a priest, who must not have anything to do with women. He runs away from her into the temple and hides under a bell. She pursues him and in order to cross the river turns into a serpent. She winds herself around the bell and her breath melts it and burns up the man she had loved. The play, however, starts long after these events. Years have passed and the temple has a new bell. A young girl comes to the festival and the priests agree to let her dance in honor of the new bell. As she whirls in a dance with hats, they turn into scales and she is revealed as the demonic serpent woman. The other life-size painting is inspired by a Kabuki dance story of Fuji Musume,Wisteria Maiden.The story begins in Otsu, a city famous for its paintings. People would stroll through its art-lined streets, viewing the beauty of the artisans works. One painting in particular, that of the wisteria maiden, caught the eye of a male passerby. As he gazed upon the painting, the Wisteria Maiden became infatuated. So infatuated in fact, that she came to life, stepping out of the painting. The maiden is dressed in long flowing kimono; black-lacquered bamboo hat and carrying a beautiful branch of fuji (wisteria). She writes heartfelt letters to her love. The letters however go unanswered. As she dances under a beautiful pine tree, covered in wisteria, she expresses the emotions found in unrequited love in the manner of women of the Edo era (1603-1868). Eventually, sadness and despair overtake her and, heartbroken, she returns to the painting.
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