The Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, is preparing to welcome guests to its new exhibit, opening Saturday. "Samurai!" opens to the public Saturday, April 18, and will remain on view through Sept. 6.
Arms and armor curator Jeffrey Forgeng said he hopes visitors will admire the incredible craftsmanship in historic pieces of Japanese weaponry and armor, which the Worcester Art Museum recently acquired from the John Woodman Higgins collection. Additionally, Forgeng said the exhibit will give museum-goers a glimpse at how the legendary Japanese fighters are inspiring contemporary artists.
"In order for the past to be living for us, we always have to be reinventing it, to be playing with it," Forgeng told New England Cable News.
"Samurai" displays historic objects such as helmets, spears, blades, and armor from several hundred years ago, from a time when states in Japan were warring. Next to several of those objects, the exhibit positions the work of contemporary artists who were inspired by the lore of samurai.
One example is a large inkjet print called "Panda Girl." It depicts a samurai-styled female superhero who is under attack from a barrage of arrows. That piece is displayed next to a collection of arrowheads and spearheads that resemble the illustrated weapons targeting the subject of the contemporary artwork.
"You kind of get a feeling of, 'Wow! What would it feel like to see arrows coming at you like that?' And seeing [new art and historic objects] together is what this show is all about," said guest curator Eric Nakamura.
In early May, three artists will be painting site-specific samurai murals inside the Worcester Art Museum. That process unfolds from May 4 through May 9.