[留学生の藝大体験記20] Anđelić Marijana (美術研究科・日本画専攻)[My Experience at GEIDAI 20] Anđelić Marijana (Graduate school of fine arts)

January 27, 2017


Name, Department, Home country and city, Duration

I am Anđelić Marijana and when I was born in Belgrade, Serbia. It is a country in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula. I am a third year doctoral course student of Japanese painting (Nihonga). Before coming to Japan I graduated a five-year course of Belgrade Art University and experienced working in many art techniques like mosaic, printmaking and oil painting. I have been in Japan for six and a half years now.


Why did you choose Geidai as your study abroad destination?

By a chance, during my art studies in Serbia I learned about Japanese art and philosophy and I became drawn to Japan. I was doing extensive research on Internet and consulted my Japanese friends and everybody assured me that Geidai is the place to study art in Japan.

I was always interested in more traditional approach in art, so choosing to study Nihonga at Geidai was the best choice I ever made, because founders of this department basically invented the Nihonga style of painting.




What did you do to prepare yourself for studying abroad in Japan?

I tried to memorize as many Kanji as I could by taking Japanese classes in a language school. Also, I listened to Japanese music all the time and watched movies so that I could learn Japanese as fast as possible. I tried to cover the area as wide as possible because I didn’t know what to expect once I come to Japan, so I watched both old and new movies, listened to both enka and pop music. It was very interesting and different from everything we had in Serbia. Especially movies gave me a good idea of Japanese cultures and modern values.


What do you study at Geidai?

At first I was studying how to use the Nihonga painting materials, since this technique is very difficult to learn in Serbia, or outside Japan in general. It is actually a very difficult technique, and I took two years of research studies in Geidai just to get used to technique before taking an exam for Master course. Now I am on Doctor Course studying about identity and its impact on my work, while searching for the best way to express myself in Nihonga.


What do you like about Geidai?

The moment I came to Geidai I was assigned with a professor who guided me through this whole time. Even though my language was poor at the beginning, my professor was very patient and trying so hard to explain Nihonga to me. I still keep his drawing-explanations.

Furthermore, even though I planned to return after two years of learning Nihonga, I grew to like it so much and the environment I was studying in, I prolonged my stay in Japan twice.




What are the things that impressed you or surprised you in Japan?

The language barrier. I felt so lonely when I couldn’t speak the language in my first year in Japan, but thanks to my peers and colleagues from the Master course, they helped me overcome the cultural differences by talking to me and by mutual exchange of opinions.

Also, to this day I am surprised by the Japanese self-management and good upbringing. Each person feels deep personal responsibility about everything they are part of. I learned much from them. 



What are your future goals?

I wish to continue painting in Nihonga technique and try to spread it both domestically and abroad. I feel that there are problems with painting materials, some artisans are closing down or getting old. I want to promote it as much as I can and bring its beauty to the spotlight so that this technique will continue to celebrate Japan’s unique artistic expression in it.

This is just a dream at the moment, but I would love to lead a Japanese art center somewhere outside Japan and call my Japanese friends to do lectures and exhibitions. I wonder if I could paint Nihonga in a different climate…



Please write a message for students wishing to study in Japan.

If you are interested in traditional arts and crafts, then you probably won’t find place with such a high quality teaching stuff and good atmosphere in ateliers. One can really devote themselves to the process of learning art. Also, Geidai has facilities in Nara and once a year organizes a research trip, where one can immerse themselves in the roots of Japanese culture and discover the most magical places where art and nation where created at the same time.