At the entrance of the Byodo-in store, there is a work called Tingatinga Art, a painting style that was born around 1960 in the suburbs of Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania.
It was drawn by Yusuph Michael Lehemu.
Born in Nbuyuni Village, Masasi Province, United Republic of Tanzania, he is the founder of Tingatinga Art and an artist who inherits the teachings of his uncle, Mr. Edward S. Tingatinga.
The painting entitled "Keep Nature, Life Simple"
In addition to the Uji River seen from the Byodoin store and postcards of tea picking left at our store,
It is a happy piece of African, Japanese tea, and Uji, where various Tanzanian natural landscapes intersect.
Originally, I was planning to install a completely different art.
Although it was a wonderful work, I was troubled because I could not explain the necessity of why the work was here.
I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Rehem.
Japanese tea has been refined by Japanese people with Japanese taste and sense of values, and has reached the present day.
The delicate flavor, color, and brewing method are just born from Japanese aesthetics and Japanese nature.
Not only that life with tea is material,
It's like being a reminder of their identity.
Because tea is such a presence, I was strongly attracted to how Japanese tea looks to us, who are Japanese, from the outside.
A world where green doesn't look green.
A world where drinks are not drinks. Maybe.
When I first saw Tinga Tinga art, it seemed like there was such a colorful world of Japanese tea.
Hippos swimming in the Uji River, flamingos standing on Mt. Daikichi, fresh tea picking while listening to African music.
It's the other side of the world where Japanese tea is Japanese tea.
At the entrance of the new Byodo-in store, such a symbol was needed,
The work titled "Keep Nature, Life Simple" fit in there.
The unfamiliar rhythm of Uji, almost from the other side of the world, teaches us about the possibilities of Japanese tea that we never knew existed.
At the same time, I cannot help but express my sincere respect for the efforts of our predecessors and customers who have continued to connect with us.
If it had been cut off, this painting wouldn't have appeared here.
About Tinga Tinga Art
A painting style that was born around 1960 in the suburbs of Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. It is said that he started painting pictures of animals using leftover plywood and paint at construction sites.
The painting is characterized by love, peace, and happiness. In modern times, it also plays a role in creating opportunities to care for animals that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
It is called "Tingatinga Art" after its founder, Edward S. Tingatinga (1937-1972).
Yusuph Michael Lehemu
Yusuf Michael Lehem
Born 1973 in Mbuyuni, Masasi, United Republic of Tanzania. Lives in Kobe City.
Started working as a painter around the age of 13, following the teachings of Mr. Edward S. Tingatinga, the founder of Tingatinga art and his uncle.
Starting with winning the competition of Switzerland's Helvetas, we started activities overseas.
In 2004, he visited Japan for the first time at the invitation of the Tanzanian Embassy in Japan.
In 2006, after getting married, he started activities based in Japan. In addition to exhibiting at various events and holding solo exhibitions, he is also involved in activities to spread the art and culture of Tanzania through painting instruction and workshops.