Japanese calligrapher Ougui Kofude paints letters of peace in Kolkata
Ougai Kofude made a presentation of the art of Shodo, a form steeped in discipline
Recently, Kolkata witnessed a glimpse of the Shodo art of Japanese calligraphy, with artist Ougui Kofude creating magic on large sheets of white paper and fabrics with her paintbrush - almost entirely immersed in black ink. Held live at Rabindra Okakura Bhavan in Salt Lake, Kofude's expression in ink enthralled and enlightened the audience.
The petite and softspoken artist drew immediate applause when she began the art show by painting the word 'Om' in just the way that the late poet Rabindranath Tagore had one written it. Kofude, who has been practising calligraphy for the past 40 years, developed an interest in this art form at the age of five, when she took up calligraphy as an extra curricular activity in school.
The session was interspersed with prostration exercises, and short prayers. She explains, “'Sho' means calligraphy and ‘do’ means the way. Shodo is not just about writing letters nicely, it’s an art that demands discipline. Harmony and elegance of lines created in the calligraphy are not only for aesthetic pleasure, but also serve to transfer wisdom. Each line is meaningful, each movement of a calligrapher’s brush creates something fine." Kofude concluded the live session with the words 'friendship' and 'shanti' (or peace) painted in both Hindi and Japanese with black ink.
Travelling for the first time in India, she could pick up up the Hindi letters in less than 15 minutes before the show, since she had little idea about Hindi calligraphy. Though she likes and chooses a fair number of words for her paintings, the word peace easily makes the greatest impact.
Later, with the guidance of her two teachers, and the encouragement of her late fiancé, she chose calligraphy as her career. “My first guru advised me to start a calligraphy school in Japan, and my second guru encouraged me to be a professional calligrapher,” informs the artist, who pursued the art form, despite it being not as popular in Japan as it is in China.
The event was organised by the Consulate General of Japan in collaboration with the Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi and the State Information and Cultural Affairs department.