Combining film shot directly on location in the ‘wild north’ of Japan by Nikolai Azariah, with paintings, sculpture & installation by London–based artist Isao Miura, also a haiku creek of poems by Chris Beckett – visitors will be taken on an exciting interpretive journey from Bashō’s 17th century text into contemporary visual images.
The most influential poet of Japan, father of haiku, Bashō travelled like an itinerant Buddhist monk with “just my body and a paper coat”, frequently breaking down in tears at the beauty and pathos of what he saw.
The Paper Coat, which Isao has cut from Japanese Shiramine paper and painted the traditional colour of persimmon, not only represents a practical garment, it is also a symbol of lightness, simplicity and fragility. Bashō’s purpose was to see and be inspired by the landmarks written about by his favourite poets of the past, a sort of pilgrimage called Uta Makura in Japanese. In the same way, this exhibition and the associated Walks will explore our relationship with nature’s beauty and power, also the enduring legends and history that inhabit the places where we live. Participants on the Uta Makura Walks will be encouraged to write or sketch along the way, and selected work will be displayed in the gallery as an ongoing part of the exhibition.