Apollo

Yama: The mining art of Sakubei Yamamoto

Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London

NOW CLOSED

Sakubei Yamamoto began working as a miner and blacksmith in the coal mines of Kyushu, in southwestern Japan, at the age of 12. He would continue this work for more than five decades, until in 1955 – at the age of 63 – he became a colliery security guard, and began to set down his memories of the mines in paint. His images record the picturesque costumes worn – as well as the folk songs sung – by the haulers, hewers and coal-washers he had encountered. This exhibition includes a focused selection of the more than 2,000 paintings and drawings Yamamoto had completed by the time of his death in 1984. Find out more from the Brunei Gallery’s website.

Preview the exhibition below | View Apollo’s Art Diary here

Transport Man: The Number One Dresser in the Pit in the Mid-Meiji Era (1856–1912) (n.d.), Sakubei Yamamoto.

Transport Man: The Number One Dresser in the Pit in the Mid-Meiji Era (1856–1912), Sakubei Yamamoto. Courtesy Tagawa City Coal Mining Historical Museum; © Yamamoto Family

The Basket Coal Sled in the First Half and Middle of the Meiji Era (n.d.), Sakubei Yamamoto.

The Basket Coal Sled in the First Half and Middle of the Meiji Era, Sakubei Yamamoto. Courtesy Tagawa City Coal Mining Historical Museum; © Yamamoto Family

Mining Coal in an Upright Position, Sakubei Yamamoto.

Mining Coal in an Upright Position, Sakubei Yamamoto. Courtesy Tagawa City Coal Mining Historical Museum; © Yamamoto Family

Event website