Primate Portraits in Hiroshi Watanabe’s ‘Sarumawashi’

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Kopeikin Gallery presents its third exhibition with Los Angeles photographer Hiroshi Watanabe, showcasing the ancient art form of suo sarumawashi, which means “monkey dancing.”

One of Watanabe’s pieces features a sword-wielding macaque.

Alongside noh and kabuki, sarumawashi is among the oldest and most traditional of Japan’s performing arts, although in this case performed by highly trained macaque monkeys.

A few years ago Watanabe was thinking about his childhood in Japan and remembered that performing monkeys would come through his village. They still perform as they have for centuries, so Watanabe traveled to Japan and photographed the performers.

Watanabe has frequently exhibited internationally and his work is in numerous public and private collections.

For more information, go to his website, www.hiroshiwatanabe.com.

The exhibition opened Sept. 7 and continues through Oct. 26. It is free and open to the public. Kopeikin Gallery is at 2766 S. La Cienega Blvd (at Washington) in Los Angeles. Call (310) 559-0800 or visit www.kopeikingallery.com for more information.

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