Wordsworth wandering to Japan for the first time thanks to Sunderland lecturer

Dr Mike Collier.
Dr Mike Collier.
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A Wearside lecturer is helping to take the original manuscripts of William Wordsworth to Japan for the first time.

Dr Mike Collier, an art lecturer at the University of Sunderland, will be exhibiting Wordsworth’s poems alongside the work of renowned Haiku master, Matsuo Basho, in a celebration of UK and Japanese culture.

Christine Flint-Sato.

Christine Flint-Sato.

Launching this week, the exhibition has been curated by Dr Collier and brings together new artwork by 12 British and 13 Japanese contemporary artists, including painters, poets, musicians, and calligraphers.

Dr Collier said: “The idea for the exhibition arose, initially, from a visit to Japan in 2011 when I saw a number of Basho manuscripts. Although both Wordsworth and Basho are viewed through a historical lens these days, both were radical formal innovators in their day and so it seemed appropriate to ask contemporary artists to interpret their work for this exhibition.

“This is also the first time that the original manuscripts by Basho and Wordsworth have been shown alongside each other, and it’s a chance for Japanese audiences to become better acquainted with their work.”

Held at the Kakimori Bunko, Itami, Japan, the launch event is using technology to simultaneously launch the exhibition in Newcastle, and will include a live-screening through Periscope, where Dr Collier will provide a guided tour of the works on location in Japan.

It’s a chance for Japanese audiences to become better acquainted with their work

Dr Mike Collier

The North East event will be held in the Abject Gallery, Bamburgh House, Newcastle, and includes participatory art sessions and workshops, with the gallery open to the public from Saturday.

The entire exhibition has been curated by four students from both the University of Sunderland and Northumbria University.

Christine Flint-Sato, a British artist based in Japan, has contributed work to the Kakimori Bunko exhibition.

She said: “I feel very privileged and grateful to have been invited to take part in the exhibition. I have lived most of my adult life in Japan and taking part in it is a very special way to integrate both parts of my life. I have been able to re-visit aspects of my British heritage and link them up with where I am in Japan.”