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One of a Kind! The Diverse Charm of Uruma City is Condensed at Gallery Haraiso
post : 2018.10.15 06:00
From north to south, Okinawa Island has numerous spots throughout the island that offers something fun, interesting, and unique, but there are still some spots that are yet unknown. One of those places is the City of Uruma. Located in the middle of the island, Ishikawa in Uruma City is quietly garnering much attention as of late, with more and more shops opening up in the last few years and becoming increasingly lively.
In the old military housing area in Ishikawa, Uruma City, is Gallery Haraiso. Here, they introduce, exhibit, and sell attractive arts and crafts created in Uruma City.
The owner is Tetsumasa Kono, who’s a designer and also a photo writer with Okinawa CLIP, and his wife, Kozue Kono. The couple moved to Okinawa from busy Tokyo in 2011 and decided to live in Uruma City, thinking, “If we’re moving from the big city of Tokyo, let’s live in a more quiet area rather than living in the urban neighborhoods of Naha.” Kozue laughs as she shares that many people ask her, “But why Uruma City?”
“Up until we moved here, we actually knew nothing about Uruma City. We started looking up information once we started living here, but we really couldn’t find much on Uruma City in any magazines or anything,” she says.
With that, they started the Michikusa Uruma, a local information magazine.
As Testumasa and Kozue engaged in interviews with local crafts and ceramic artists, they became deeply interested in the artworks produced by them. They also learned that there were hardly any places in the city that sold the works created by local artists.
On October 10, 2014, the couple turned the available space in their office and opened Gallery Haraiso, where they display and sell various arts and crafts created by artists from Uruma City, and are not commonly available. The works include pottery, Ryukyu Glass, shell crafts, Bingata and indigo dyes, and others.
Presently, they sell works created by 17 artists. Kozue says, “We wanted to create a space where visitors can have a pretty wide and open view on the arts and crafts created in Uruma City.” Many of the pieces are so lovely that you can’t help but reach out and hold in your hands for a closer look. In this article, I’d like to introduce some of the pieces that I found to be particularly attractive.
The brilliant blue and green gradation on the glassworks by Ryukyu Glass Takumi Kobo studio are very beautiful, and apparently inspired by one of Okinawa’s popular fish, the parrotfish. I loved it so much that after the interview, I actually bought one. The design, of course, was lovely, but these glass cups rest nicely in the hands and are made with functionality in mind too.
I almost did a double take with these containers in the shape and color as Japanese pears, as they looked so real. These are produced by Tou Factory 509.
The teacup and saucer sets with lace designs on the surface are also created by Tou Factory 509. The soft curves of the lines are exquisite and will certainly enhance your teatime.
It took Tetsumasa three years to create these flower pots which are made with Ryukyu stucco and white sand from Okinawa’s shores. As he worked with the various artists, he was inspired to create unique plant pots with materials, coloring, and shape like no other.
In the Gallery are numerous and various items that nonchalantly add delight to everyday things, making another typical day into something a little bit special. “There are still many artists that we haven’t met yet, and we hope for the opportunity to meet more artists and to bring their works here,” says Kozue.
The Gallery also holds planned exhibits irregularly, together with the artists, and during March 1 to the 11th, they held an exhibit with the theme, “Textiles to wear, textiles to carry,” exhibiting Ryukyu indigo textiles of Karansha. If you get a chance, check out when the next one is and come for a visit.
When you come across a piece of art, it really is a once in a lifetime meeting. At Gallery Haraiso, you can see, touch, and feel the one of a kind artwork created carefully and lovingly by each of the artists. You’ll need no words to feel the charm and message of the artists through their very special artwork.
Address: #137 1-9-24 Ishikawa Akebono, Uruma City, Okinawa
Permanent Exhibit: 11:00-16:00
Closed: Wednesdays & Sundays
Okinawa CLIP photo writer Sachiko Tachi