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Artistry in Silk: The Kimono of Itchiku Kubota
Curated by Jacqueline Marx Atkins
February 7 – May 13, 2018
Opening Reception: Wednesday February 7, 6–7:30 pm - All are welcome!

Artistry in Silk celebrates the work of Itchiku Kubota (1917–2003), an innovative artist whose spectacular creations gave new meaning to the art of kimono. He brought new life to a 16th -century decorative technique known as tsujigahana, a combination of resist-dyeing techniques and ink-drawing that was once thought lost forever. In his subsequent production of sumptuously beautiful kimono that featured “Itchiku tsujigahana,” the artist’s adaptation of this art form expanded contemporary ideas of surface design and assured Kubota a legacy as an out-of-the-ordinary artist and artisan whose work stimulated the mind and delighted the eye.

The exhibition presents 41 kimono designed and produced by the artist over three decades, from 1976 to his death in 2003.

Challenging Convention: The Kimono Artistry of Itchiku Kubota
Lecture by Dr. Jacqueline Atkins, curator of Artistry in Silk
Thursday February 8, 2018 from 6-7 pm

Itchiku Kubota’s remarkable artistic legacy is grounded in Japan’s cultural and artistic traditions, yet he was an innovator on every level, technically as well as in presentation. He was well-versed in modern Japanese art forms, yet was inspired by textiles of the past and used perhaps the most traditional of all vehicles for his artistic expression: the kimono. Dr. Atkins’ talk will examine some of the seeming opposites of past and present, tradition and innovation that are intertwined in Kubota’s work, and his willingness to step outside conventional boundaries to recast the kimono as a radical and transformative art form.

Tickets $20, TMC Members $15, Students $12

*Advance registration is required for all ticketed events as space is limited. Register at or call 416-599-5321 x2228.

Curated by Jacqueline Marx Atkins and organised by the International Chodiev Foundation. Made possible by lead sponsor BMO Financial Group and lead donor the William R. and Shirley Beatty Charitable Foundation. Supported by The Japan Foundation, presented on the occasion of the 90th Anniversary of Japan-Canada diplomatic relations in 2018-2019.

IMAGE: Itchiku Kubota, Symphony of Light: Seasons : Jo / Autumn Prologue; Ryou / Certitude; Kou / Change; Hin / Nostalgia; Hou / Late Autumn Melancholy, 1986-1987


Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue
Toronto, ON, M5G 2H5

About Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkins
Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkins, an independent curator and textile historian, has curated several exhibitions on the remarkable work of Itchiku Kubota. She has also lectured on his work and prepared the catalogue The Textile Artistry of Itchiku Kubota: Kimono from the Kubota Collection. Her other areas of interest include Japanese early modern textiles and kimono, American and Japanese quilt history, and American folk art, and she has written and lectured in those areas. Her publications include As We Are Now, So Shall You One Day Be: Skeleton Motifs in Japanese Kimono; ‘Novelty Textiles’ in The Brittle Decade: Visualizing Japan in the 1930s, and Wearing Propaganda: Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain, and the United States, 1931–1945; and Shared Threads: Quilting Together Past and Present.

Dr. Atkins was Chief Curator for the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania until she retired in 2011. She holds a Ph.D. from the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, and MA and BS degrees from Columbia University. She was also a recipient of a Fulbright Research Award to Japan, which led to her interest in Japan’s early modern textiles.

About the Textile Museum of Canada
The Textile Museum of Canada (TMC) is the only museum in Canada that explores ideas and builds cultural understanding through the universally relevant media of textiles. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Museum’s permanent collection spans nearly 2,000 years and consists of more than 13,000 artifacts. The Textile Museum of Canada presents rotating exhibitions, changed throughout the year. Exhibitions draw from TMC’s collection and present the work of local, national and international contemporary artists. The TMC also host touring exhibitions and guest curators through various partnerships and collaborations.

The Textile Museum of Canada is a non-profit cultural and internationally renowned educational institution, which marked its 40th anniversary in 2015. A leader in the digitization of collections and interactive environments, the TMC has been recognized the world over for innovation in the development of landmark educational, research and creative initiatives.

Open seven days a week, the TMC is located steps from the St. Patrick subway station and just a few blocks from Toronto City Hall and the Art Gallery of Ontario. The TMC Shop specializes in textile related merchandise including books and toys and globally sourced artist-designed and artist-made products such as scarves and jewelry. More information about the Museum and its exhibitions can be found online at

The TMC offers touch tours for blind and partially sighted visitors. Please contact Education Programs Coordinator Susan Fohr at or 416-599-5321 x2228 for more information.





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