Solo exhibition of Eji Tsuruda in Kagoshima: Imaginary animal displays amidst autumn foliage

PUBLISHED Oct 19, 2023

Eji Tsuruda, welcoming visitors

Eji Tsuruda’s solo exhibition, “Where Is Keiji Tsuruta Going? (Japanese title: どこに行くんだ鶴田惠士)” is currently taking place at the Momijiyama Museum in Naokicho, Kagoshima City.

Tsuruda, a native of Kagoshima City, works as a veterinarian at Tsuruda Animal Hospital and has been engaged in painting for over 20 years, starting around the age of 50. His artworks often feature animals, characterized by a free and unbounded style that does not conform to specific shapes, using colors such as red and yellow. This solo exhibition marks his return after a hiatus of 14 years.

The Momijiyama Museum, located in the mountains of Naokicho, has approximately 350 Japanese maple trees planted on its vast 4,000 square-meter grounds. For this exhibition, the entire museum is being used for displays. Indoors, there are around 30 paintings as large as 1,620×1,300 mm, 50 small pieces of animals cut from plywood with handmade frames, and wall-mounted masks made from styrofoam and paper clay.

In the outdoor maple forest, various animal sculptures made from plywood, including giraffes and monkeys, Tsuruda’s imaginary animals, and dozens of masks made from paper clay and Japanese paper are placed throughout. Tsuruda originally created these outdoor animal artworks for a joint exhibition at the Kagoshima City Museum of Art, but the Momijiyama Museum offered to place them in the forest. Tsuruda expressed his joy at seeing the artworks dotted in the maple forest, “I felt happy to see the animals come alive.”

He also mentioned, “I don’t paint in a realistic manner; I just paint what I think or feel. I don’t stick to specific shapes. I want to continue painting as I please.”

The exhibition is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. until October 29. Free admission.

  • Entrance to the maple forest

  • Entrance to the Momijiyama Museum

  • Tsuruda’s small artworks

  • Animal artworks in the maple forest