The Japan NewsAn exhibition of Inuit artwork donated from the collection of Prince and Princess Takamado began Wednesday at the Canadian Embassy in Minato Ward, Tokyo, marking this year’s 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada.
The late Prince Takamado (1954-2002) — a cousin of the Emperor — went to Canada in 1978 to study at Queen’s University in Ontario for three years, during which time he began to develop a fondness for Inuit art. After his marriage to the princess in 1984, the pair further nurtured their connection to Inuit culture by twice visiting Canada’s northern areas and meeting indigenous artists.
In the new exhibition titled “Inuit Carvings from the Prince and Princess Takamado Collection,” a total of 22 carvings — all donated to the Canadian government by the princess — are on display at the Embassy’s Prince Takamado Gallery. Mainly made of stone, their motifs range from animals such as beluga whales and walruses to mythological figures including the sea goddess Sedna, and are depicted with a bold but sensitive touch.
“One of the things that my husband felt very close to the Inuit people was the fact that there was a spirituality,” Princess Takamado recalled in her address during the opening event at the Embassy on Tuesday night, which was attended by Canadian Ambassador Ian Burney, senior Japanese diplomats and experts on Canadian affairs.
The princess spoke about her husband’s deep respect for Canada’s appreciation of cultural diversity and inclusion. “[Canada] was where he learned that the ideal society, the ideal world, is the one in which we have this diversity of cultures,” she stressed. Referring to the carvings she donated, the princess said, “My husband would be delighted that they are here, especially on this very special occasion of the 150th anniversary.”
Prior to the princess’ remarks, Burney expressed his deep appreciation for her donation and her commitment to bilateral ties. The ambassador said that “the relationship has been strengthened immeasurably” by the support of the prince and the princess.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top priority in this anniversary year is reconciliation with indigenous peoples, Burney said.