Beauty Given by Grace: The Biblical Prints of Sadao Watanabe

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Sadao Watanabe, Flight to Egypt
Flight to Egypt, by Sadao Watanabe

CIVA is delighted to offer this historical traveling exhibition: Beauty Given by Grace: The Biblical Prints of Sadao Watanabe. At age 17, Watanabe (1913-1996) was baptized a Christian and he quickly combined his new faith with an interest in preserving the traditional Japanese folk art of stencil dying, or katazome. Over time, Watanabe came to be Japan’s leading artist to portray biblical scenes. While his work was well-received in his homeland, it was also highly regarded internationally as evidenced by exhibitions art at leading institutions such as the British Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and the Vatican Museum.

Watanabe’s fame notwithstanding, the artist’s chief desire was to create art that could be enjoyed by common people and displayed in ordinary settings. With this goal in view he chose scenes from the Bible as his primary subject matter in order to communicate the truth of Scripture in the Japanese context. CIVA’s Sadao Watanabe exhibit features 50 original momogiami and washi prints, cards, and calendars from the collections of Sandra Bowden and John A. Kohan. Each of the 50 prints may be viewed in the gallery below. Read a personal reflection about this exhibit by Makoto Fujimura on the CIVA Blog.

CIVA is grateful to following individuals and corporations for their generation financial support of this exhibition:

Artisan Millwork, Inc. – Providence, RI
Mr. and Mrs. Bert and Julie Bowden – Uxbridge, MA
Case Systems – Midland, MI
Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Jennifer Laws – Lexington, SC
Northeast Interior Systems, Inc. – Syracuse, NY
Scriptum – Berkeley, CA
Mr. and Mrs. Ken and Linda Vander Weele – Chicago, IL

The Watanabe exhibit is available for rental to galleries, universities, and museums. The four-week rental fee for this exhibit is $1,000 plus additional costs for shipping. CIVA-member organizations will receive a $100 discount.

To learn more about how to rent this show, please contact To check for available dates, consult the schedule below. For a complete list of CIVA shows visit our Traveling Exhibits page.

Travel Schedule for Sadao Watanabe Exhibit

December 21, 2016 onwards

October 25 –  December 15, 2016
Abraham Art Gallery & Museum of the Llano Estacado
1900 West 7th Street CMB #249
Plainview, TX 79072
Contact: Candace Keller

August 15 – October 15, 2016
Gordon College
255 Grapevine Road
Wenham, MA 01964
Contact: Bruce Herman

April 1  – August 1, 2016

January 15  – March 15, 2016
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University
31802 County Road 159
Collegeville, MN 56321
Contact: Brian Jose, Executive Director

November 10 – December 31, 2015
Memorial Presbyterian Church
1300 South Olive Avenue
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Rev. Randy Bare
561.8323631 ext. 302 (office)
510-325-9247 (mobile)

September 1 – October 31, 2015
Charles R. Dassance Fine Arts Center, Webber Gallery
3001 SW College Road
Ocala, FL 34474
Contact: Michelle Faulconer

July 5 – August 20, 2015
Fourth Presbyterian Church
126 East Chestnut Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Contact: Rob Koon
312.787.4570 Ext. 252

April 25 – June 20, 2015
Blackhawk Evangelical Free Church
9620 Brader Way
Middleton, WI 53562
Contact: Rev. Paul LeFeber

February 23 – April 17, 2015
First Presbyterian Gallery
300 West Wayne Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Contact: Patricia Griest

January 7 – February 18, 2015
Second Presbyterian Church
770 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Contact: Dr. Michelle Louer

November 1 – December 31, 2014
First Presbyterian Church Berkeley
2407 Dana Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
Contact: Julie Sept

September 1 – October 21, 2014
Dordt College
Campus Center Art Gallery
498 Fourth Avenue NE
Sioux Center, IA 51250
Contact: David Versluis

May 15 – June 30, 2014
Apostles Anglican Church
200 Colony Boulevard
Lexington, KY 40502
Contact: Bridget Sweeney
859.245.1318 Church

March 1 – April 30, 2014
Bidwell Presbyterian Church
208 West First Street
Chico, CA 95928
Contact: Dr. Greg Cootsona

December 27, 2013 – February 28, 2014
Calvin College
3210 Burton Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Contact: Joel Zwart

September 15 – November 15, 2013
The Marian Library | International Marian Research Institute
Dayton, OH 45469-1390
Contact Person: Sr. M. Jean Frisk

June 1 – August 31, 2013
Central Presbyterian Church
201 Washington Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Contact Person: David Vander Meer

April 21 – May 19, 2013
Cross View Lutheran Church
6645 McCauley Trail
Edina, MN 55439
952.941.1094 Ext 210
Contact: Rebecca Waller, Director of Music and Fine Arts Ministries

October 1, 2012 – March 30, 2013
Billy Graham Center Museum
500 East College Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
Contact: Eric Durbin, Director


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