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Visions of Gothic Angels: Japanese Manga by Takaya Miou

The Honolulu Museum of Art presents an exhibit on female identity in manga through the art of Takaya Miou.

August 25, 2016 10:00am to January 15, 2017 4:00pm

Manga—Japanese graphic novels or comics—play a vital role in contemporary Japanese culture. Not only do they enjoy immense popularity (annual sales within Japan have risen to more than $2 billion); internationally, they have become the centerpiece of the Japanese government's “Cool Japan Initiative,” a campaign to promote its status as a cultural superpower. Manga’s popularity partly arises from the medium’s historical connection with Japanese woodblock prints and paintings (ukiyo-e), which were produced in Japan throughout the Edo period (1615–1868). The term manga, in fact, was coined by the renowned ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849).

The Honolulu Museum of Art’s exhibition series on contemporary Japanese manga, begun last year with Modern Love: 20th-Century Japanese Erotic Art (November 20, 2014–March 15, 2015), now continues with Visions of Gothic Angels: Japanese Manga by Takaya Miou. Takaya’s artwork explores themes of femininity and female identity through fantastic imagery originating from a wide variety of artistic traditions: Italian Renaissance portraits of Christian martyrs, the intricate Art Nouveau style of British illustrator Aubrey Beardsley (1872–1898), the surreal puppets of German sculptor Hans Bellmer (1902–1975), and the whimsical street fashion of Harajuku district in Tokyo.

In addition to an overview of the artist’s 25-year career, Visions of Gothic Angels: Japanese Manga by Takaya Miou focuses upon two anthologies, The Madness of Heaven (Tengoku kyō, 2001) and Map of Sacred Pain (Seishō-zu, 2001). Illustrations and short stories from these publications will be presented in a variety of formats: original drawings, printed books (tankobon), large-scale wall graphics, and digital works that visitors can read from cover to cover on iPads installed in the gallery.

Visions of Gothic Angels: Japanese Manga by Takaya Miou is curated by Stephen Salel, the Robert F. Lange Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art.