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Montgomery Artist's Paintings on Display at Small World Coffee

Cats in Love: Acrylic on paper, by Minako Ota

Japanese painter, Minako Ota is displaying a selection of her animal and nature paintings at Small World Coffee through October 1.

Ota lives in Montgomery Township by the Princeton border. She was born in Osaka, Japan and studied traditional Japanese painting at Tama Art University in Tokyo. Upon graduation, she attended Cambridge University in England where she focused on Western painting conservation.

“For me, painting is an ever-changing life form,” Ota says. “Through life experiences, you keep reinventing yourself and as you transform, your painting style transforms, too.”

“Since I left my native country 30 years ago, I have become a hybrid of Japanese and Westerner,” she says. “I combine Western painting techniques that I learned through painting conservation and traditional Japanese motifs that I grew up with.”

Her painting titled Cats in Love, is based on a haiku by 17th Century Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694).

cats in love

when it’s over, from

my bedroom

a hazy moon

Ota has worked for 20-plus years as a conservator, responsible for protecting cultural heritage paintings under the employ of museums, private collectors,

and other cultural institutions.

“All conservation projects are unique in their nature, thus interesting, but the most important piece that I ever worked on was probably a Rubens, which

belongs to Queen Elizabeth. I also have worked on a Monet, some Constables, and a Calder.”

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Ota's artwork has been exhibited in Japan, Russia, the United States, and France.

See her work up close at Small World Coffee, 14 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. Or, view her work online by visiting her website at ■

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