Okumura, Shigeo (OKU)

The “naïve” Japanese painter, Shigeo Okumura, better known as OKU, combines the graceful and precise contours of traditional Japanese art forms with the nostalgic subject matter of the West.

The world of OKU is deceptively innocent, populated with denizens of a floating world of entertainment and amusement, or occasional benign figures of the jungle.  He depicts adult amusements as a child might see them, painting and printing with vibrant colors and crisp lines.  

In 1970, his work was selected for the touring exhibition “Symbols and Images,” sponsored by the Whitney Museum of Art and the American Federation of the Arts.  In the past ten years, since Oku moved to the United States, a growing group of his admirers have been collecting his work.