Last month, a Foreign Minister's Commendation was presented to Tokyo-born artist Hiroshi Senju by Ambassador Takahashi, for his work fostering international cultural exchange through his art. Every year, Foreign Minister's Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups around the world for outstanding achievements in promoting friendship with Japan.
Mr. Senju is a leading contemporary nihonga artist. His artwork has received high acclaim for its seamless modernism expressed through the techniques of the nihonga tradition, which stretches back over a millennium. Since the 1980s he has used New York City as a base to become a driving force behind the recognition of the Japanese aesthetic and Japanese art techniques overseas. Through his work, Mr. Senju has shown that the Japanese sense of beauty is a universal standard that can be appreciated by people across cultures and around the world. Most famous are his serialized Waterfall paintings, which he began in the early 1990s.
Mr. Senju’s waterfalls have found their way to many places around the world. One example can be seen at Shofuso, a Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia, where they decorate the house’s fusuma sliding doors. Another example was the 2010 APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Economic Leaders' Meeting, where his waterfalls served as a backdrop for the meeting. His waterfalls even greet travelers in the terminals at Tokyo International Airport.
Hiroshi Senju was born in Tokyo in 1958. He completed his graduate work at the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1987. Mr. Senju was also the first Japanese painter to win an Honorable Mention Award at the Venice Biennale in 1995. He currently divides his time among a number of activities, including working in his studio in New York and teaching at the Kyoto University of Art & Design. In this manner, through his art, his lectures, and his writing, Mr. Senju uses his experience and knowledge to introduce people around the world to Japanese art.