Pursuing Sumi’s Potential for Expression

Curator of the State Hermitage Museum
Aleksey Bogolyubov

As a Japanese artist living in the modern age, Meiyu Niwa continues to express herself, uniquely experimenting as she explores the role of art after the avant-garde art seen in the early 20th century. She simplifies the traditional techniques inherited over the years to the utmost level, as she continues to create works that attract the eyes of others through her simple yet powerful and original expression.

Through her works, Niwa communicates to the viewer the beauty and importance of “living concisely”. Despite her simple technique, her expressive power is greatly admired for clearly delineating between “stillness and motion”, “light and dark”, “plus and minus” as well as “pleasure and anxiety”.

In addition, her sensitivity for color is well worth mentioning. One can almost feel her strong will from her abundant use of gold. Her use of gold is not the calm warmth of sunlight but is more like the intense energy of emotions which are housed deep within our hearts.

Niwa’s expression is truly diverse. One’s heart is shaken several times by the philosophical messages that scintillate in the stillness, the wonder of the well-calculated composition and the dance-like movements of the light sumi strokes. On the other hand, there is a reliable consistency within the variety of her expressions which is apparent to anyone who views her work. Knowing all there is to know about the history of calligraphy and understanding at the core the special implications of the sumi’s “blackness”, Niwa is able to create expressions that deeply impacts and draws in each and every viewer.

She will continue to progress to even further heights as she opens a new road in the world of abstraction and pursues her unique expression as a Japanese artist.