Current Exhibitions

Musha-Ningyō: Avatars of the Samurai Spirit

(April 27-October 6, 2024) Member preview day April 26

The Morikami Museum celebrates the wisdom and strength of all children in an extraordinary display of traditional dolls (ningyō) depicting Japan’s rich samurai culture, inspired by Kodomo no Hi, or Children’s Day. This popular festival was originally known as, Tango no Sekku (First Day of the Horse), and held on the 5th day of the 5th month.  Noted for the elaborate display of dolls depicting renowned warriors drawn from Japan’s martial past, in 1948 the Japanese government rededicated the May holiday to all children – boys and girls – as Kodomo no Hi.

Musha-ningyō, or warrior dolls, represent a range of legendary and historic figures. The ascendency of the samurai warrior class in the 11th century profoundly shaped the philosophical, political, and visual culture of Japan for the next seven centuries. Samurai-based values and attitudes emphasized martial prowess and strength. The development of the Boy’s Day Ceremony, with its dramatic display of exquisitely dressed ningyō, not only reflects the proud family lineages and exploits, but the ritual also imbued the figures with a special symbolism that enabled participants to renew their connection with the spirit of the samurai.

Meet the movers and shakers of Japanese lore and legend, including elegant Empress Jingū, shaman and interpreter of dreams; Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Japan’s Great Unifier; Kato Kiyomasa, “The Devil General;” archer Minamoto Yorimasu, the monster-slayer; and Kintarō and Momotarō, beloved boy heroes of superhuman strength. Set against a backdrop of boldly decorated Boy’s Day banners and crested battlefield curtains, you can explore the world of these diminutive icons of nobility and trace their influence on contemporary avatars of the samurai spirit.

The Morikami is thrilled to present this rare gathering – curated by Alan Pate – of more than 50 meticulously outfitted musha-ningyō created by leading doll artists of the 19th and 20th centuries on-loan from private collections.

Join us Friday, April 26 for a lecture with curator Alan Scott Pate, as he dives into the details of this exhibit. Learn More

 

hapa.me

(May 4-August 25, 2024) Member preview day May 3

Celebrating the millions of individuals identifying as part Asian or Pacific Islander, Kip Fulbeck’s exhibit The Hapa Project first premiered in 2006. Fifteen years later, Fulbeck revisits 130 of the original participants and photographs them again for a new exhibition and book – hapa.me – inviting them to write new personal statements answering the question, “What are you?”
Forty-six individual portraits are on-view with their original images. These ‘then and now’ portraits offer a profound and touching showcase of not only the participants’ physical changes over time, but also their different perspectives and outlooks on a rapidly changing world. This project has always been fist and foremost a project about identity. From its initial concept to showings throughout the U.S, and abroad, audience interactivity and participation has been a key tenet of Kip Fulbeck’s vision.

Fulbeck has exhibited in over 20 countries and throughout the U.S. and has featured on CNN, PBS, The Today Show, MTV, Voice of America (radio), various NPR programs, and The New York Times. He teaches as a Distinguished Professor of Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara. An active surfer and ocean lifeguard, he is also a national champion master swimmer.

hapa.me is created and developed by Kip Fulbeck and the traveling exhibition is organized by the Japanese America National Museum, Los Angeles, California.

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