Springtime in Victoria is reminiscent of another city on a beautiful, large Pacific Ocean island – Tokyo.
The cities both seemingly wake from winter with the blooming of Japanese cherry blossoms, and this spring the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria will bring a little more of Tokyo to Victoria.
Opening Thursday (March 26), the AGGV presents Kabuki: Japan’s Dynamic Theatre in Prints, an exhibition celebrating Kabuki theatre, the classical dance-drama that originated in Tokyo in the 17th century.
“Kabuki theatre is known for its very stylized drama and elaborate makeup,” says Barry Till, AGGV curator of Asian art.
“It became a common form of entertainment in the registered red-light district in old Tokyo where a crowd of various social classes would gather under one roof – something that happened nowhere else in the city.”
The Kabuki stage provided exciting entertainment with new music and dance performed by famous male actors. The stage features a walkway extending into the audience and via which dramatic entrances and exits are made.
Performances went from morning until sunset, and the area around the theatres was lush with shops selling kabuki souvenirs, especially woodblock prints, which were collected like movie posters.
Kabuki: Japan’s Dynamic Theatre in Prints runs through June 15 and features more than forty 19th and 20th century portraits of actors from the Gallery’s extensive collection, including works by masters of the Japanese wood print and painting art form, ukiyo-e.
For more information, visit aggv.ca or call 250-384-4171.