WONDER of the SILK ROAD: The 105 Year Path of KAZUKO IRIE

Sep 23, 2021 - Nov 03, 2021

About Exhibition

The silk road, which has an exotic sound and stirs up eternal romance, carried many cultures and art from east and west along with silk between the 2nd and 18th centuries BC. Because of its historical value, a part of the Silk Road was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2014 as a " Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor," and now it is a cultural heritage for fusion, exchange, and humanity.


Kazuko Irie was born in 1916 in Yamaguchi Prefecture as the daughter of a merchant.  She spent her childhood in Daegu, Korea, and contrary to her family's wishes, attended Joshibi University of Art and Design (Women's Academy of Fine Arts) in Tokyo.  After graduating, she returned to Daegu before going to sell her art at the gallery in Harbin.  It was then that she witnessed the sunset over the Nen River that changed her life.  


Since 1969, she has visited more than 30 countries along the Silk Road.  Starting from Istanbul with her sketchbooks, watercolor pencils, and pastels, she painted images to preserve her impressions of the scenery that she saw as she traveled.  In Dawn in Istanbul, Turkey, she captured the sensation of the burning red sunset from her hotel room over Bosporus strait, which reminded her of the sunset she had seen in Harbin.   


In this exhibition, we will introduce approximately forty pieces of work by the 105-year-old artist Kazuko Irie. These pieces were inspired by the majestic landscapes, people, and lifestyles she encountered while traveling along the Silk Road. She imbues the colors in her work with the feelings from her travels. The exhibition looks back over Kazuko Irie's career, which spans 85 years.


Ms. Kazuko Irie passed away on August 10, 2021, at a hospital in Tokyo. She was 105 years old. We would like to express our sincere condolences.


Organized by The Nippon Club

Supported by the J.C.C. Fund

(Philanthropic Fund of Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York)

In cooperation with IRIE KAZUKO Silk Road Museum

KOA Corporation

OKAYA Silk Museum

"Silk: Then, Now and Beyond" Film Organizing Committee

Curator: Shoko Hayashi