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by Pamela A. Babusci

Late last year, Pamela sent us this wonderful series of ekphrastic tanka inspired by Toko Shinoda, an amazing and important contemporary Japanese artist who is connected with the Abstract Expressionist movement. Sadly, Toko's death last month has made this portfolio a memorial as well as a tribute. Of the inspiration for this portfolio, Pamela writes

I discovered the beautiful artwork of Toko Shinoda, a Japanese sumi-e painter, while visiting an abstract art site. I was immediately drawn to her simplistic and elegant sumi-e paintings, so I proceeded to research not only her wonderful art but Toko herself, as a woman. At 107 Toko is still painting. Even though she doesn't have a strict work schedule, she picks up her brushes daily for inspiration. The best quality sumi-e ink cakes or sticks are used, some dating back to China's Ming Dynasty. She creates ink by adding water to her ink stone and grinding the stick until she attains the preferred intensity of black. Toko Shinoda never married or had children but remained steadfast in producing art all her life.

Being deeply inspired by her beautiful art, I decided to compose a series of sumie/acrylic paintings incorporating tanka within them to make a living haiga tribute to her. I was not trying to imitate her style but to express an essence of her esthetic. 

Pamela's bio:

Pamela A. Babusci, is an internationally award-winning haiku/tanka poet and haiga artist. Some of her awards include: Museum of Haiku Literature Award and First Place Mount Fuji Tanka Contest (Japan)  Her cover art has graced the books of Full Moon Tide The Best of Tanka Splendor Awards, Taboo Haiku, Take Five: Best Contemporary TankaVol.1, The Delicate Dance of Wings, Chasing the Sun: selected haiku from HNA 2007 and moonbathing: a journal of women' s tanka.  Pamela's haiga have been featured here at Haigaonline, and on The Haiku Foundation, Simply Haiku, Frameless Sky and numerous haiku and tanka journals. 

Pamela is the founder and editor of: moonbathing: a journal of women tanka, the first all-women’s international tanka journal. You can reach her at  moongate44@gmail.com.



Photographs from the
Gifu Museum of Contemporary Art


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