- Tell me about yourself…
I have felt a bit like a privileged hermit in the past few years, hidden away in a new house I have helped to both design and build. This simple timber house is surrounded by a lovely native garden including over 60 mature eucalypts, adjoining Terrigal Lagoon on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Retiring to Australia after 34 years of expat life in early 2017, my husband Ted and I looked forward to settling into our own (yet to be built) home. Now moved in lorikeets, kookaburras and magpies have kept us company as we wait out the pandemic on the top ﬂoor of our “tree-house”.
- What is your relationship with CWAJ? Both your current position and any previous involvement?
I ﬁrst became aware of CWAJ when I attended the 2001 Print Show on a visit to Tokyo from Singapore. Once we moved to Tokyo (courtesy of Ted’s job), I was able to immerse myself full- time in working with these vibrant prints as a member of the PS committee. Arriving in late 2002, I also organized luncheon programs, worked on the Japanese Theater lecture series, and joined scholarship and YPA committees.
However, Print Show soon became a full time commitment, and I loved every minute spent looking at prints, meeting artists and working with new friends to create the annual event. At the end of 2006, four Print Shows later, I reluctantly extracted myself from CWAJ and moved to NY, accompanied by our small but inspiring collection of prints.
My connection with CWAJ continued after leaving Tokyo. In 2014/15, I assisted in preparing “A 60 Year Journey” which outlines the history of the print show. This labor of love took more than a year, as the book committee (working long distance from India in my case) dug into the roots of the show dating back to the late 1940’s. We then documented, year by year, the fascinating involvement of CWAJ with prints and their artist.
I have also been a frequent visitor to PS, returning most years to Tokyo and Kobe. Whenever I attended a show I documented it for PS records, using photos, videos and powerpoints. I also documented the travelling shows and events at the Library of Congress and Highﬁeld Hall in Cape Cod. Each time I came to Tokyo, a few more prints would ﬁnd their way into my luggage, ﬁrst carried home to NY, then to Bangalore and now, ﬁnally, to our eyrie north of Sydney, where they still await proper display on the walls of our new home.
My most recent CWAJ involvement is with the new PS advisory committee, and I feel lucky to be a small part of the show once again.
Over this 20 year involvement, CWAJ has given me not only a ready made group of art-loving friends with a shared interest in these extraordinary prints, but also, through these friendships and CWAJ meetings and other events, an incredibly privileged access to, and understanding of things Japanese.
- What would you like to say to the current members of the CWAJ?
Unexpectedly, the pandemic and enforced isolation has brought me much closer to CWAJ again, through zoom meetings. These web based inclusive meetings are a valuable tool for CWAJ, helping to hold onto and embrace overseas members and to reach out to a greater overseas audience. As things digital become even more accessible and possible, the future looks very bright for CWAJ’s dual (increasingly international) missions of fundraising to support education and promoting Japanese prints.
So to today’s CWAJ members, I would say that we can proﬁt from the pandemic. It has forced us to explore holding print shows online and also to reach out to a new audience through zoom, social media and the internet. These online activities are well worth continuing, since they both simplify our work while providing new opportunities.