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Atsuhiko Misawa, a Kyoto born artist, is packing Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts with animals.

These creatures, however, are mostly camphor tree sculptures and paintings. Misawa is exhibiting about 30 animal- and nature-themed works. From kittens and puppies to polar bears and tapirs, Misawa hopes to raise social awareness of the threats to nature in his own comical way.

“Misawa Atsuhiko Animals in Tochigi” is a part of gm projects, a Tokyo-based modern-art group dedicated to celebrating the environment.

The Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts has prepared a variety of events and activities for children, such as scavenger hunts and chances to get presents. For the kids’ delight, Misawa has placed his works in unusual places including an artist’s atlier, which is off limits under usual circumstances.

On Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 10:30 a.m., small wooden carvings by Misawa will be handed out in small gift bags to the first 30 visitors.

“Misawa Atsuhiko Animals in Tochigi” runs until March 22 everyday from 9:30 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and national holidays. For more information, call (028) 621-3566 or visit www.art.pref.tochigi.lg.jp/jp/index.html

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