World of Sumi Ink Artist Toko Shinoda Recreated

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shinoda’s works are displayed in the gallery that opened in Seki, Gifu Prefecture.

GIFU — The atelier of the late artist Toko Shinoda, globally known for her abstract sumi ink paintings, has been recreated in a newly built gallery in Seki, Gifu Prefecture.

The Gifu Collection of Modern Arts has a permanent gallery that displays the works of Shinoda, who passed away in 2021 at the age of 107. The Toko Gallery was relocated to the premises of local machine elements manufacturer Nabeya Bi-tech Kaisha and the relocated gallery opened in March. The facility also houses her studio, which was relocated from Tokyo’s Minami-Aoyama district, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Shinoda’s art and life.

After World War II, Shinoda began to create abstract works made of ink based on the shape of Japanese characters. She stayed in the United states for about two years and held solo exhibitions across Europe and the United States.

Her contemporary and cutting-edge figurative expression was highly acclaimed. Shinoda was also involved in a wide range of activities, including book design, title lettering and essay writing.

She was deeply attached to her father’s hometown of Gifu that she visited from time to time, referring to it as the “land of my heart.”

Nabeya and the Gifu Collection of Modern Arts Foundation have 1,017 of Shinoda’s works and had exhibited them at two locations in the city. With the completion of the new gallery, they are now exhibited at a single location, permanently managed by the foundation.

Nabeya contributed about ¥600 million to build the two-story building with a total floor space of 769 square meters. The first floor exhibits Shinoda’s works, while her atelier is on the second floor.

The studio is lined with her favorite brushes and tools, as well as a lounge area, faithfully reproducing the space where she devoted herself to her creative activities.

“We want visitors to experience the world of Toko by both viewing her works on the first floor and her atelier on the second floor,” said curator Kaori Miyazaki.

The gallery is holding a commemorative exhibition, “Toko Shinoda Collection,” after it opened to the public in March and features about 30 representative works from her early to later years through June 15.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shinoda’s recreated atelier in the newly built gallery