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DODDS employee's calligraphy part of Okinawa exhibit

Guests exam the work of the Kariyushi Art Exhibit, which highlights the work of local artists 60 or older, at the Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum in Naha, Okinawa, Jan. 9.

NAHA, Okinawa — Nearly 300 pieces of artwork — produced by local senior citizens — were unveiled Jan. 8, 2014, at the Okinawa Prefectural Fine Art Museum as part of the annual Kariyushi Art Exhibit.

The exhibit highlights local artists 60 years or older, including Bruce Thomas, a Defense Department schools employee.

“There’s three things you should do,” said Thomas. “Take care of your spiritual life, you have to learn something new and you have to learn something about where you are. That took me here because calligraphy is one of the foundations of Japanese culture.”

Thomas explained that he has been learning calligraphy for more than five years and submitted his work for exhibition because “sensei told me to.”

Uncomfortable with the attention and certain that his work paled in comparison to the dozens of decorative scrolls hung throughout the gallery, Thomas focused on the joy of creating the calligraphy.

“Your concentration reaches a certain level and it just happens,” said Thomas. “You don’t think about it, you don’t do anything, it just happens. It’s kind of amazing.”

The Kariyushi Art Exhibit runs until Jan. 13 and features calligraphy, photography, painting, traditional Japanese painting, sculpture and crafts. Admission is free.

tourtelot.lisa@stripes.com

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