Road of Light and Hope

The Eurasian Trail of Wisdom(Σοφια)
— Connecting West and East, North and South

The globally touring photo exhibition, lecture & short-film series, Road of Light and Hope presents visions towards unity through select ancient artwork as evidence of the interconnectedness of East and West, throughout which the Eurasian Trail of Wisdom stands out in bold relief.

While Nara was the ancient capital of Japan, it was de facto the easternmost terminal of the ancient Silk Roads. If we were to seek a cultural link connecting its westernmost terminus, Rome, or Alexandria at the southwestern end, with Nara, it might be found in the sculptural art works from the eighth century, embodying the ideals of the human spirit as well as the free and vivid movements influenced by the Hellenistic Style of ancient Greece. Uzbekistan—the crossroads of the Silk Road—and Nara are also connected by Gigaku masks which originated in ancient Greek mask theatre, representing the Sogdian king and his followers.

Various hints and inspirations can be found in the histories of exchanges and fusions permeating the Silk Roads that linked Europe, Asia and Arabia in one expansive network. While exploring the forgotten history of countless obscure exchanges between races and religions, philosophies, mythologies, arts and cultures, —by examining both the tangible and the intangible cultural heritage surviving in Nara for 14 centuries — we would like to search for common ground to foster tolerance and solidarity in today’s divisive times and fragmented world.

Supported by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and overseas Embassies/Consulates, Road of Light and Hope launched at United Nations Headquarters (New York) in 2016, followed by exhibitions, speaking engagements and screenings as integral parts of Japan’s commemorating ceremonies and events abroad in renowned venues such as: The Council of Europe as well as Lieu d’ Europe (Strasbourg) in 2016; Japan Foundation (Toronto) and Consulate General of Japan in Chicago in 2017; Rio de Janeiro Cultural Centre Correios for Japan Month and National Museum of the World Culture in Mexico City in 2018.

The exhibition series Road of Light and Hope were presented in 12 venues in 11 different countries since 2016, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan(Diplomatic missions abroad), Japan Foundation, Japan Camera Industry Institute and Media Art League.
Featured image: Virudhaka/Zōchōten, one of the Four Guardian Kings (Shitennō) of Tōdai-ji Temple (Photo by Miro Ito)

【Previous Venues】

United Nations Headquarters, New York

Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, Tashkent

Council of Europe Headquarters, Strasbourg

Japan Foundation, Toronto

Consulate General of Japan in Chicago

Post Office Cultural Centre Rio de Janeiro

National Museum of Cultures, Mexico City

Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens

Bardo National Museum, Tunis

Nara Palace Site Historical Park, Nara

Pervian Japanese Culture Centre, Lima