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Kiyoshi Yamashita

May 29, 2010

I have temporarily run out of photos of Herbert Freeman’s artwork.   It may be some time before I am able to post some more. Rather than put this blog on hiatus I have decided to head each post with the work of another of Orlando’s best folk artists: Morgan Steele.  I will post Mr. Freeman’s work when it again becomes available.   

Mr. Rat in the Rain - Morgan Steele

Kiyoshi Yamashita was a famous vagabond artist in Japan.  He was the subject of a motion picture in 1959 and a long running television series (1980-1997).  When Yamashita was three years old he became very ill and as a result suffered some neurological damage.  Bullied as a child because he was slow and spoke with a speech impediment he acted out and wounded a classmate with a knife.  As a result of this incident his parents thought it would be better if Yamashita had a specialized environment for his education.  They enrolled him in Yawata Gakuen (a school for the mentally disabled) and it was there that his artistic abilities flowered.  

When Kiyoshi Yamishita turned eighteen in 1940 he ran away in order to avoid being examined for recruitment into the army.  This begins the period of his wanderings which so captivated the Japanese popular imagination.  When he was twenty-one he was forced to submit to the army exam but was found to be unacceptable  for service.  He resumed to his vagabond lifestyle returning now and again to his school or family home where he would create his famous pictures which were composed entirely of pasted bits of torn of colored paper. 



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