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Galleries: A rising star from Japan and the joys of springtime

Blue Rose - Ulster Museum, Belfast

By Elizabeth Baird

A painting by the Japanese artist Takuma Tanake has recently been donated to the Ulster Museum by the Contemporary Art Society - and the young painter has a fascinating life story.

Born in 1977, Takuma studied law at Waseda University but suffered mental illness and turned to art as a therapy.

Many people tried to discourage him, and when he tried to sell some of his work by the roadside he was told to move along by the police.

However, he persevered and eventually started to see his work sell.

He is known internationally now and is represented by Bonhams.

Tanake's colourful paintings are heart-lifting.

The Ulster Museum is currently showing Blue Rose from his Feature Series in the International Ireland exhibition.

This pensive study of a young woman is typical of the Feature Series and also of his rather naive style, which can be gentle and insightful.

To find out more about the Contemporary Art Society, visit

Celebration of Spring - WWF Castle Espie Gallery, Comber

Until March 25

Born in Newtownards and working from his studio in Bangor, artist David Campbell's pieces are mainly executed in oil or mixed media in an abstract expressionist style.

He attempts to capture the atmosphere and mood invoked by the local landscape, and cites his key influences as including Mark Rothko, Basil Blackshaw, and Neil Shawcross.

Expressionist influence is clear in this show, with strong brush strokes carrying the eye rapidly across the surface of the image.

However, the exhibition is influenced not just by the nature and seascapes of the peninsula and coastline beyond, but also by David's Christian faith.

With Easter approaching, it is perhaps an apt time and location for this section of the show.

Here, amongst nature at its most beautiful and, at this time of the year, which is often so wild, David considers the Easter story.

This is a beautiful location to see this vibrant and colourful show and also to consider the Christian Easter through this artist's eyes.

Belfast Telegraph

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