Youth Exchange 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago, Kaye Green arrived back home in Tasmania, after a year in Osaka, Japan, as a Rotary exchange student.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of that extraordinary year, Kaye decided to create 50 bonsai artworks.

“This ‘bonsai pilgrimage’ gave me the opportunity for a deep, reflective and meditative artistic experience,” Kaye says.

PICTURED: District Governor Bob Calvert and Assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator Roslyn Teirney at the opening of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Rotary Youth Exchange Student Kaye Green.

“Drawing each bonsai has been a spiritual experience, with each one giving me the opportunity to reflect deeply about Japan. Revealing the enigmatic qualities of the bonsai fitted perfectly with my feelings about Japan and my ‘Japanese-ness’. Bonsai, for me, are about beauty, age, philosophy, time, memory, symbol and metaphor embraced in a small tree.

“As a schoolgirl in Japan, I loved studying the art of Japanese brush writing. I used to watch my teacher carefully; noting in particular how she held the brush and gently applied the ink to form the beautiful artistic writing. I was thinking of her as I applied the tusche washes to the lithographic stones hoping for that same gentle, flowing quality.

PICTURED: Allanah Dopson, owner of Handmark Gallery, where Kaye’s bonsai prints were exhibited. (Photos: Paul Guo)

“When I created the lithographs, I used layers of collaged Japanese paper to emphasise the idea of time, memory and Japanese screens. I created the collage element hoping that the layering, composition and colour would add an extra nuance and depth to the work.

“This has been an appropriate project to thank Japan and to thank Rotary for a life changing experience, which has been with me every single day for 50 years,” Kaye says.