Onna Mask No 2 by Norman Takeuchi

Acrylic on Paper
20.8 × 15 inches
52.7 × 38.1 cm
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About the Work

A white and black-blue Onna mask integrated with organic passages of gold, brown, green and blue fills the picture plane of this vertical acrylic painting on paper. The Onna masks which depict women -- eyebrows drawn high on the forehead, red lips, black hair parted in the centre -- were used in the traditional Japanese musical performance called Noh established in the 14th century. Takeuchi, his family and other Canadians of Japanese heritage were sent into exile during World War II. They were forced from their homes and relocated away from the B.C. coast. Takeuchi's paintings reflect his experiences of this time: "Unsettling and uncomfortable abstract forms which allude to the early exclusion years jostle with images from old Japan. While the paintings represent an uneasy search for harmony and balance between the two worlds, they are ultimately a celebration of my dual heritage." Takeuchi attended the Vancouver School of Art where he graduated with a scholarship that allowed him to paint and exhibit in London, England. For much of his life, Takeuchi worked as an exhibition and graphic designer in Ottawa but left this work in 1996 to become a full-time artist. Takeuchi has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions since 1962. His work may be found in collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, Carleton University Art Gallery, Confederation Gallery, The Ottawa Art Gallery, the Canadian War Museum, and many private collections.

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