Impressions of Japan 2012 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Impressions of Japan 2012

Three HWS students who traveled to Japan this summer to take part in Technos International Week 2012 brought their experiences to life for the campus community through an art exhibit featuring mixed media, including encaustic, origami, watercolor, sculpture, and photography, documents the experiences of. The exhibit was featured in the Harris Lounge of the Scandling Campus Center earlier this semester.

Sophomore Kim Giegerich and juniors Andrew Hellmund, Kimmie King and Gina Mercuri were invited to attend Technos International Week 2012 as guests of the Tanaka Educational Foundation after completing an application and interview process. They traveled with Assistant Professor of Architectural Studies Kirin Makker and visited the Edo-outdoor architectural museum, the Studio Ghibli Museum, Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and villages in Tokyo along with other sites. The cultural tour of Japan encompassed many aspects of Japanese living and changed the students’ views on art and culture.

Upon their return to campus, the four student participants began working on ways to bring the experiences of their trip to life on the HWS campus. Mercuri kept a blog for the length of the trip, while the other three students chose to produce artwork that would speak to their experiences.

The student artists explain the inspiration behind the art exhibit in the following artists’ statement:

“In this exhibition we hope to give you a glimpse into the culture of Japan through our individual perspectives. We would like to share with you what inspired us and caught our eye, including the amazing number of colors every day, everywhere. We were able to incorporate into our own thought and work many of the ideas and perspectives we learned from our travels and share them through our differing mediums– sculpture, mixed-media and encaustic, and photography. While we frequently traveled to the same locations, we had very different perceptions. Together we hope our work will give you a glimpse into pervading beauty of Japan and the great kindness of the Japanese people.”

They recall, “We had the opportunity to try many things and now it is our time to pass along some of these experiences. We were constantly amazed by the energy and compassion of the Japanese people, their willingness to answer questions and show us new things.”

Technos International Week began in 1992, thanks to the generosity of the Tanaka family and the Tanaka Memorial Foundation, whose gifts established the Tanaka Asian Studies Endowment and annually supports the Asian Studies Program, the Tanaka Lectureship in Japanese, and more. In addition to the endowment, 1992 marked the beginning of two exchanges with Technos International College (sponsored by the Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust), the exchange of International Prices for Academic Excellence and International Understanding, and the Technos International Week.