Shima, Tamami
Tamami Shima was born in 1937 in Hirosaki, Aomori prefecture. She was a graduate of the Women's College of Fine Arts (Tokyo) in 1958. Her work was promoted in the West after she received a travel grant from the College Women's Association of Japan in 1962. Shima's designs are notable for their use of texture, and especially for her striking use of various woodgrain patterns within a single image. Her prints from the 1960s often feature rhythmic fanciful birds.

A recent email from a friend of Tamami brings the sad news that Tamami Shima passed away in 1999.

You may have noticed another Japanese artist whose style is indistinguishable from that of Tamami's -- that being Shiro Takagi (born in 1934). This is not surprising, given that Shiro Takagi has reproduced many of the scenes first published by Tamami Shima. The question still remains as to whether this republishing the artwork of Tamami Shima under his own name was blatant plagiarism or undertaken with the knowledge and permission of Tamami. Some of the blocks he's used are obviously the same as those used by Tamami, and, interestingly, they were both born in the same prefecture in Japan, so may have been very close friends. It's possible that Tamami gave Shiro all her blocks when she married and moved to the USA. Tamami's sons and acquaintances knew nothing of Shiro's 'copying' activities until I brought it to their attention in 2005, and they feel that Shiro must have produced these editions without Tamami's permission. Whatever is the case, to me it is unconscionable for an artist to print scenes from another artist's blocks and then sell those prints as his own. This is exactly the same as, for example, one of Watanabe's printers selling Hasui Kawase prints with the Hasui seal and signature replaced by the printer's. Thus, I cannot highly regard Shiro Takagi as an artist.

Woodblock prints by Shima, Tamami

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Quiet Morning
Date: 1958

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Night
Date: 1958 September

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Game Fowl
Date: 1959

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Enclosed Horses
Date: 1961

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Wild Child
Date: 1961

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Green Trees
Date: 1961

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Flying to the Forest
Date: 1961

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Early Spring
Date: 1962

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: A View Of The Ocean
Date: 1962

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Scene of Flying Ducks
Date: 1962

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Horses In The Forest
Date: 1962

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Playing with Horses
Date: 1963

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Horses in Early Summer
Date: 1964

Artist: Shima, Tamami
Title: Whispering Horses
Date: 1965


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