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(Solved) NabilHassan1 Nabil Hassan Leah McCurdy Nonwestern Art 1317-001 April 19, 2017 The Modern Day Exile Artwork plays a historic role in comprehending the...

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Nabil Hassan
Leah McCurdy
Nonwestern Art 1317-001
April 19, 2017
The Modern Day Exile
Artwork plays a historic role in comprehending the cultural, political and
historical context of nonwestern art. It can consist of visiting a historical art museum
and immersing yourself with the artwork or simply by creating your own artwork. What
makes art so unique is the flexibility it gives individuals to get out of their comfort
zone. With each distinctive artwork comes a variety of different representations and
interpretations that viewers can attribute with reality. This can be seen in the artwork
titled, "An Exiled Emperor on Okinoshima" (figure 1), where it depicts the theme of
social justice. This issue relates to the modern day crisis of the exile of Syrian refugees.
Both Emperor Go-Daigo and Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey are all too similar
with being exiled from their native countries. Art has the infinite power to trigger an
individual's emotions. It also can make viewers escape reality, but also make them
relate the artwork they see to social conflicts that inhabit their world. This is the case
with this Japanese artwork, as when reading about the history of the Japanese emperor's
exile to Okinoshima, it bears great resemblance to the banishment of Syrian refugees in
Lebanon and Turkey. Both the asylum seekers and the emperor's exile come under very
different circumstances, but both were obligated to leave their native countries. In this
paper, I will explore the central theme surrounding the nonwestern artwork "An Exiled
Emperor on Okinoshima" (figure 1), which is based on social justice and banishment, 1 NabilHassan2
while correlating it with the Syrian refugee crisis, and how these themes relate to the
cultural, political and historical context of nonwestern art.
Unlike a Western art, Asian paintings viewed from looking right to the left
similar to Arabic calligraphy. "An exiled Emperor on Okinoshima" (figure 1), is an
example of a shogun art, depicting its control over the emperor recognized as Empire
Go-Daigo. On the far right-hand side of figure 1, the empire on his royal white cloak is
sitting in a hut looking over the vast sea horizon. Only with his books and koto as his
companion, the mystic quality of gold and silver ink suggests the solitude of a distant
island and the wealth of the shoguns (Kimbell Art Museum). A visitor most probably a
fisherman dressed in a straw cape, appears to have arrived at the left, with a boat along
the shore of the hut. The blossoming of the cherry tree close to where the emperor
seated depicts the only brightness in an otherwise somber composition reflecting the
sense of isolation (Kimbell Art Museum).
"An Exiled Emperor on Okinoshima" (Figure 1), was painted during the
Momoyama period. Though originally painted in Japan depicting the power of the
shogunate, the painting could today be viewed at Kimbell Museum Collection, In Fort
Worth Texas, USA. The artwork was painted around 1600 Century and tells the story of
banishment of King Go-Daigo. Emperor Go-Daigo was also known by his personal
name Takaharu tried to overthrow the shogunate and restore the monarchy which led to
divide the imperial family into two rival factions (Shinoda 1998). Even before his
enthronement, Go-Daigo began to plot to overthrow the shogunate and restore the
power of the imperial court. In 1331, in the midst of the civil war against the shogunate
lead by Hojo Takauji, Go-Daigo was captured by the Kamakura forces while he was 2 NabilHassan3
trying to flee from Kyoto and sent to exile in the Oki islands in the Sea of Japan. In the
artwork "An Exiled Emperor on Okinoshima" (figure 1), many scholars depicts the
myth how the boat along the shore was used by empire Go-Daigo to escape from the
island and how the fisherman was a loyal supporter of the empire named Takaoki
Chidane (Kimbell Art Museum). Though the following year, Go-Daigo was able to
escape from his banishment, and upon returning joined forces with the shogun Ashikaga
Takauji against the Kamakura forces. In 1333, Takauji took Kyoto, and with the fall of
the shogunate, Emperor Go-Daigo began kemmu restoration. The emperor had the plan
to re-establish an imperial government, with the samurai in a secondary position (Goble
1996). Go-Daigo foolishness leads to another civil war which leads to the Ashikaga
shogunate established by Ashikaga Takauji to gain control and rule over Japan (Shinoda
Power and greed have been the backbone of a downfall for a country since the
ancient time. There is a trend where under Authoritarian leadership there is usually civil
unrest, and society will crumble onto itself. The same pattern is seen in Syria, as Syrian
people are becoming victimized due to the power struggle among the ISIS, Kurdish
forces and Al-Assad regime. Since the year 2011, it is estimated over five million
Syrians have fled the country and seek refuge in countries ranging from Turkey,
Lebanon, Canada and many others (Ozden 2013). Many have taken shelter in a new
country while suffering to get citizenship or work permit in their new home. The Story
of Shiaa Sanaa talks about the difficulty her newborn son and family facing every day
in a refugee camp in Lebanon (Drake 2016). The camp has over 50,000 newborn babies,
yet they cannot be registered as a citizen of Syria or gain citizenship in Lebanon. Many 3 NabilHassan4
kids do not have access to a proper health care, and like Shiaa Sanaa many other exiled
Syrians dream often one day returning to their home country, once all the turmoil has
come to rest (Drake 2016). War has separated many family members and seeks a new
home. It has been over a year since Sanaa last saw her father and having to go through
seeing her neighbor beheaded to act as a warning to speak out against the ISIS regime.
For a time now, Syrians have been seeking refugees in different places of the
world. Though Syrians are welcomed in some places, the door has been closed for them
in other places. One of the welcoming place for Syrian has been Turkey. Turkey is the
home of the largest Syrian refugee camp with over 1.7 million Syrians currently living
there as of 2015 (Icduygu 2015). Syrians are registered by the Turkish Disaster and
Emergency Management upon their arrival in Turkey. They are helped to meet the daily
necessities of life such as assist them to provide shelter, food and clothes and other
necessary utilities needed for every day of life (Ozden 2013). Though the Syrian
refugees have a home to be called on a temporary basis, very few measures have been
taken for a permanent solution. There are very few opportunities to leave the refugee
camp, and the irony is most of them are exiled within the camps (Ozden 2013).
Although in the last year or so, with refugees registered within the Turkey government
has risen to 2.5 million, the Syrian government and the Turkey government are
collaborating to grant at the minimum work permit to the people living in Turkey
refugee camps currently (Rios 2016). Diaa Ajaj, once a proud owner of a pastry shop in
Damascus Syria, is currently working at a pastry shop for half of the salary a Turkish
person presently makes. Not being able to get a work permit has hindered many Syrians 4 NabilHassan5
can live outside the refugee camps, though often are vulnerable to exploitation (Rios
"An Exiled Emperor on Okinoshima" (figure 1) and Syrian refugees shared the
same connection of being exiled due to war. Even though hundreds of years separate the
events, both of the events are related to political turmoil. In the artwork, the emperor
was an exile in the midst of getting captured by the opposing shogunate army, while
Syria has turned into a warzone, with regular conflicts between the Syrian government
and terrorist group such as ISIS. Political turmoil had played a major role in Japanese
history, with the emperor Go-Daigo losing the second civil war, Japan was ruled by the
Ashikaga shogunate afterward the emperor, while Syrian citizens are facing an
uncertain future, with thousands of people fleeing to other countries to get away from
The artwork and Syrian refugees can be related how it affected them culturally.
With the Shogunate ruling shaping up the history of the Japan, the current culture of
Syria is affected as many of the artifacts are being destroyed by the ISIS. Emperor taken
as a prison and sent to an island as a punishment showed a shift of power and the
growing wealth of the shogun. With the emperor supposed to be related to the Japanese
God, and had control of military, policy, law, power was shifted to local daimyo (lords
who were vassel of the shogun). The shift of ruling among the Japanese showed a
cultural shift of how life was under the emperor to a different life and a different ruler
how life had become for the Japanese people. For Syrian refugees, their home, the
artworks they once cherished are destroyed right in front of their eyes. Many of the 5 NabilHassan6
cultural aspects of Syrians are being destroyed, whether it is the museum or artifacts,
Syrians are paying the price with many choosing to seek refuge in another country.
Exile was a practice which was carried out in Japanese culture, in history two
emperors were exiled, while it is a practice still seen in modern society. "An Exiled
Emperor on Okinoshima" (figure 1) and Syrian refugees are related by exiled. Though
one may argue, the Emperor Go-Daigo had no choice but be banished when captured,
Syrian suffering from continuous war, no adequate health care or food available is
driving them to seek refuge in another country. Historically the practice of exile still
exists, and even in United States of America Edward Snowden seeking refuge in Russia
in order not to be trialed for treason if he comes back to America. A practice which can
bring a sense of isolation, loneliness, and a feeling of detached from society.
Art is a way of expressing one's inner feeling and can tell a story of what the
artist was feeling or the story he/she wanted to convey. "An Exiled Emperor on
Okinsoshimo" (figure 1) depicts the story of banishment of Emperor Go-Diango. The
artwork tells the story of how he was exiled, and the background color of the artwork
helped to illustrate the setting of it. The artwork was related to Syrian refugee of how in
both situations they were forced out of their motherland and compelled to live in
somewhere else. Through the connection of how they faced ouster from their country
due to a political war, how the war affected them culturally, and how separated by
hundreds of years they still face the same problem and similar kind of punishment
people have to go through. 6 NabilHassan7 Figure 1 "An Exiled Emperor on Okinoshima" represents an exile of an Emperor in the
Okinoshima Island.
Title: "An Exiled Emperor on Okinoshima"
Style/Period: Momoyama Period
Location: Kimbell Museum Collection (Fort Worth,Texas,USA)
Date: 1600 Century 7 NabilHassan8 Bibliography
1. "An Exiled Emperor on Okinoshima." Kimbell Art Museum. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
2. Drake, Matthew. "Syrian Refugee Camp Heartbreak as 50,000 Babies Born in Exile
without a Country." Mirror, 12 Mar. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
3. Icduygu, Ahmet. "Syrian Refugees in Turkey Long Road Ahead." TranAtlantic Council
on Migration, Apr. 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
4. Ozden, Senay. "Syrian." European University Institute. Migration Policy Center, 07
Mar. 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
5. Rios, Lorena. "How Turkey's Syrian Refugees Are Getting by." Al-Monitor. N.p., 10 Apr.
2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
6. Shinoda, Minoru. "Go-Daigo Emperor of Japan." Encyclopædia Britannica.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 20 July 1998. Web. 19 Apr. 2017. 8


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