Watanabe was baptized as a Christian at age 17 and devoted his life to depicting biblical stories in a visual language that stood firmly within the artistic tradition of Japan. In his visual world, the creatures entering Noah’s Ark correspond to the animal signs of the Asian zodiac. Jesus and his disciples wear kimonos and gather at the Last Supper to eat fish and drink sake. When Watanabe died in 1996, he left behind a visual legacy unique in contemporary sacred art. In conjunction with CIVA, Beauty Given by Grace celebrates Watanabe’s life and work by bringing together a variety of these works from two private collectors. Still Point is excited to be the last stop for this exhibit in the US before it heads to Japan.
Watanabe’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the British Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and the Vatican Museum of Modern Religious Art. His chief desire was for his work to be seen in variety of public places by as broad an audience as possible. Exhibition organizers hope Beauty Given by Grace will fulfill Watanabe’s wish, as it introduces this remarkable Japanese artist of faith to a new generation of art lovers.
CIVA has also partnered with Square Halo Books to publish a 112-page book to accompany the show, available for purchase in RZIM’s bookstore. Beauty Given by Grace: The Biblical Art of Sadao Watanabe contains background essays by collector Sandra Bowden, Dr. John Hesselink, the theologian and interpreter for Watanabe, Makoto Fujimura, the noted Japanese-American Artist, and John A. Kohan, a collector of contemporary sacred art. The volume is lavishly illustrated by full-page reproductions of all the works in the exhibition, additional Watanabe prints not seen in the show, and personal photographs of the artist.
Beauty Given by Grace opens on October 1, 2017 at Still Point in Alpharetta, Georgia where it will remain on view until December 30, 2017. We will be hosting an event in November with more information forthcoming. Join our mailing list or follow us on social media for more information. Still Point is also open to the public every Friday from 10 am to 6 p.m. To learn more about this exhibit, upcoming events, or to schedule a gallery tour for a class or group, please contact:
3755 Mansell Road
Alpharetta GA 30022