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The Colors of Serenity: Travel Photographs of Setsuko Owan

International Languages Department, Central Library,
The Colors of Serenity

In the story “The Last Dream of the Old Oak Tree” Hans Christian Andersen presents a short dialogue between a little fly and an oak tree. “Will all the beauty of the world come to an end when you die?” asks the little fly. “Oh no!” says the tree, “It will certainly last longer, infinitely longer than I can imagine.”

What kind of beauty is this conversation about? Where and how can it be found? When looking at the travel photographs of Setsuko Owan, one involuntarily becomes a witness of beauty and serenity all around, as though a veil of separation is being lifted, and one sees the inner unity of objects, places, people. “With my photographs I attempt to capture the beauty and serenity I encounter…” says Owan.

Owan compiled her European travel photographs in a book, titled Revived Journey, which has been kindly donated to the library. The book is in Japanese – 幻の旅路 “Maboroshi no Tabiji” – and with rich illustrations covers the time period from 1978 to 1984. The short film – The Colors of Serenity – presents some of Owan’s photographs in Europe in such countries as Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Switzerland, and former Yugoslavia.  


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