The artistic fusion of words and images is an intrinsic part of the cultural, social, and spiritual beliefs of Asia. From traditional calligraphy to contemporary forms of digital and mixed media, the blending of artwork with written language has the power to transform words into material culture and invite the viewer to experience rather than merely read the text. Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia features a stunning selection of works representing a diverse array of cultures, eras, and media, including Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions, Qur'anic manu scripts, Chinese calligraphy, graffiti art from Afghanistan, and contemporary artworks using Japanese calligraphy and Tibetan or Thai scripts. Through different materials--from paper to silk, woodblock to projected screen--these works in turn evoke the ephemeral and the eternal. Edited by MOA curator Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura, this exquisite book offers a fascinating look at art forms that have long been undervalued by the Western world and showcases glorious recent works by artists such as Shamsia Hassani, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, and Kimura Tsubasa. Contributions by Alain George, April Liu, Adheesh Sathaye, and Yuehping Yen present brilliant insights into the meaning and context of these works and their ability to transform writing--a form of communication that is often looked through rather than looked at--into something more meaningful.
Fuyubi Nakamura is a sociocultural anthropologist. She joined the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) as its curator for Asia in 2014. Her investigation into the production and consumption of Japanese calligraphy has developed over multiple global locations. She has curated exhibitions, including (In)visible: The Spiritual World of Taiwan through Contemporary Art (Vancouver, 2015-16). She has taught at the Australian National University, the University of Tokyo, and the University of Oxford (where she obtained her doctorate in 2006). She is an associate member of the Departments of Anthropology and Asian Studies and Centre for Japanese Research at UBC. Her publications include Asia through Art and Anthropology: Cultural Translation Across Borders (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013).