Tommy Ohtake, a Japanese-Brazilian artist, is honoured in this Doodle by guest artist Michelle Kumata, who is located in Seattle. She showed that you can always discover your passion and pursue it to the fullest. Despite having begun her career in her 40s, Ohtake’s career are timeless.
On this day in 1913, Ohtake was born in Kyoto, Japan. She went to see her brother in Brazil in 1936. Ohtake was unable to go back home after Japan got entangled in a world war. She then moved to Brazil to live with her family. She decided to give painting a go after a fateful visit to the studio of a Japanese artist, which occurred nearly 15 years later.
Ohtake debuted as an artist at the Salão Nacional de Arte Moderna in 1957. Ohtake created everything by hand, in contrast to many other painters of the day who used a strict, exacting method. A “imperfect geometry” was thrown onto the painting by her. Others soon recognised these vibrant, indistinct shapes because they were both inventive and beautiful.
Ohtake organised numerous solo shows during the ensuing ten years, earning numerous honours from Brazilian Art Salons. She shifted her focus to public art, producing vast installations for Tokyo and Guarulhos, among other cities. Ohtake created two notable sculptures in São Paulo: a towering wave-shaped sculpture in honour of Japanese immigrants to Brazil and a sequence of mosaic murals that enliven the city’s metro Consolacao stop.
Ohtake has played around with art throughout his career. She designed a film set, illustrated books, and made trophies for a film festival and Formula 1. She also never stopped creating art. She created around 30 new paintings at the age of 100.
Ohtake has won 28 awards, had 400 collective exhibitions, and 120 solo exhibitions on his résumé. Ohtake received the Order of Rio Branco in 1988 in recognition of her sculptures in the form of waves. She was an unofficial cultural ambassador for Brazil and continues to be an inspiration to artists and art lovers everywhere.
Happy Birthday, Tomie Ohtake!
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