BOGOTA – Nobu Takehisa, who lives in Colombia, is following in her famous grandfather’s footsteps as an artist, although she resisted the calling at first.
Takehisa, 63, was born in Tokyo, the daughter of painter and poet Makoto Tsuji. She was adopted soon after birth by Fujihiko Takehisa, a friend of her father’s and the second son of Yumeji Takehisa (1884-1934).
A pioneer in graphic design, Yumeji Takehisa is a poet and artist noted for his unique portrayals of women.
Takehisa said she has come to realize his greatness as she strives for her own style.
“I plan to do several paintings in a series titled ‘A Dancer with a Bridge in the Background,’ ” she said in her atelier located on 2 hectares of land thick with trees and plants about a 30-minute drive north of Bogota.
She met her late Japanese husband, Masatoshi Hayakawa, while they were students at Kyoto University’s graduate school, where he studied garden design. They moved to Bogota in 1968 after he found a job in landscape gardening.
During her childhood, she balked at the expectations of those around her that she should paint and follow in the footsteps of Yumeji. “I had never painted,” she said of that time.
However, she became an art student at Colombian National University without giving much thought to drawing, other than imagining that the study might be of use for garden design. She later found herself absorbed in it.
Takehisa has visited Japan about once a year since 1984 to hold exhibitions. Since her husband died six years ago, she has been living in her atelier with her 33-year-old second daughter, a university teacher of graphic design.
Although public security is poor in Colombia, where leftist guerrillas have been fighting government forces in a civil war and where kidnappings are frequent, she does not seem to care.
“It suits me be better where it is more dramatic,” she said. “I feel more alive here than living in Japan.”
When she was young she did not like her grandfather’s paintings because she thought they were “too emotional.”
However, after being in a quandary over her own artistic work, she now feels he was a “genius who maintained his style in a determined way.”
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.