Date : Jul. 14 - Sept. 9, 2018
In Memoriam-Gima Hiroshi, a Printmaker who Continued to Depict Okinawa
On April 11, 2017, printmaker Gima Hiroshi, who continued to depict Okinawa throughout his career, passed away.
Gima was born in 1923 in Naha, Okinawa, and spent approximately three years from the age of 18 on the island of Tinian, then under Japanese rule in the South Sea Archipelago. He then returned to Okinawa for a draft inspection and entered the military. He enlisted in the Navy and was in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture when Japan lost the war. Since Okinawa was under U.S. military rule after the war, he settled in Osaka, the terminal station of the demobilization train.
After training in Western-style painting at the Osaka Municipal Art Institute, he studied woodblock printmaking with Ueno Makoto, and from the 1950s onward, his works focused on the lives and festivals of the Okinawan people, the Battle of Okinawa, and U.S. military base issues.
In cooperation with the Kyoto Museum for World Peace, Ritsumeikan University, this exhibition will feature 45 works from the museum’s collection of Gima’s prints.
There are not many artistic expressions on the theme of the Battle of Okinawa. A few examples are the collaborative work The Battle of Okinawa by Maruki Iri and Toshi, and Gima’s woodblock prints, oil paintings, and original illustrations for picture books. These works were created from an outsider’s viewpoint, by someone who did not actually experience the Battle of Okinawa, which could indicate the depth of the wounds caused by the harrowing conditions of the Battle of Okinawa.
Maruki Iri once said, “If you do not depict Okinawa, you have not depicted the war.” Gima devoted his life to continuously exploring, painting, and conveying the stories of the Battle of Okinawa.
The exhibition of Gima’s works at the Maruki Gallery will be an important opportunity to learn more and think about Okinawa, which still faces issues related to the U.S. military base that is still there.