The George Tsutakawa fountain at Seattle Central Community College has long been inoperable and damaged by vandalism and graffiti. What used to be an eloquent small spring of eternal hope via the magic of water and sculpture sat dormant for years, destined for the junkyard. Due to the efforts of concerned staff and students, the administration was convinced to allow its’ restoration. On Thurs., June 4th there will be a Rededication Celebration in the college’s Artrium from 5:30pm on. Friends and family are expected to attend. 1701 Broadway. (206) 934-4085.
“Cultural Relections” is a group show featuring the work of Mia Yoshihara-Bradshaw and Tim scuhsland. On view June 17th – 31st. Artist opening reception set for Friday, June 19th from 7 – 9pm. Phinney Center Gallery at 6532 Phinney Ave. N. (206)783-2244.
Advance warning – Noted architect/sculptor/installation artist Maya Lin who designed the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. will give a talk as part of the “SAM TALKS” series on June 29th at Seattle Art Museum. Go to seattleartmuseum.org and look for “tickets”.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. has just opened a major retrospective on the work of American artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi entitled “The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi” which will be on view through August 30th, 2015. Kuniyoshi was an American modernist who taught for years at the Art Students League in New York. His work ranges from the subtle to sophisticated with traces of deadpan humor to deep tragedy. Kuniyoshi’s first arrival in the U.S. was in Seattle where he worked on the railroads as a teenager eventually making his way to New York. 8th and F Streets NW. Go to AmericanArt.si.edu for details.
CComing in June is the Gallery’s “20th Anniversary Show” featuring work by gallery artists. Opens June 4th from 5 – 8pm. One section of the anniversary show will feature “Five Artists From Vietnam” (Bao Ly III, Tu Duy, Bui Cong Khanh, and the Le Brothers.) Also on view is a rotating group of work by regional artists represented by the gallery exemplifying the diversity of media, viewpoints, and approaches to the concept of cultural exchange the gallery has showcased for the past two decades. ArtXchange Gallery at 512 1st Ave. S.
Northwest art historian Barbara Johns will be speaking at JCCCW on June 20th at 1pm as part of the “Omoide” series. Johns has authored books on Northwest Nikkei artists Paul Horiuchi, Kamekichi Tokita, Kenjiro Nomura and George Tsutakawa. After the talk, there will be a workshop with the Omoide writing group. 1414 Weller St. Go to https://jcccw.org/.
“HAKONIWA Project – to touch & to be touched” is a new show by artist Etsuko Ichikawa which explores the notion of not only a boxed garden but Sandplay therapy developed by Koa Kalff, a Jungian therapist. The artist explores the personal significance that hands play in our lives and our interactions with others. In this exhibit, narrow sandboxes are placed in the middle of the gallery and miniature hand figures are displayed on shelves on the walls. Visitors are encouraged to take the hand figures displayed and bring them to the sandbox to arrange. On view through June 14th. A group show from the permanent collection entitled “Study In Green” features the work of Boyd Sugiki and other Northwest artists. On view also through June 14th. Museum of Northwest Art at 121 South First St. in La Connor, WA. (360) 466-4446 or go to www.museumofnwart.org for details. New this month is a show entitled “Unmentionables” is a show by South Korean printmaker Sohee Kim up until May 30th.. There is a whimsy and at times, a dark humor at play here as she looks at the objects that humans fill their lives with and the objectification of humans as they go about their day to day activities. Chinese woodcut artist Zha Sai lives in Hubei Province surrounded by water and trees which provide inspiration for her finely detailed work. Opens June 2nd and remains on view until June 27th. Artist talk on SAT., June 6th at noon. Artist demonstration on Sat. June 6th from 4 – 6pm at Pratt Fine Arts Center which is at 1902 S. Main St. and their phone # is (206) 328-2200. Davidson Galleries is in Pioneer Square. 313 Occidental Ave. S. (206) 624-1324 for details.
The whimsical, funky charm of Saya Moriyasu’s ceramic installations will be on display in a show of new work entitled “Parlour” at G. Gibson Gallery April 24th – June 6th. Open Wed. – Sat. from 11am – 5pm and Tues. by appointment. The artist will be at the gallery during “First Thursdays” on June 4th from 6 – 8pm. Coming to the gallery June 19th – August 15th is a group show entitled “DWELL” which includes drawing, painting and photography of architectural themes. The work of Thuy-van Vu is included in this show. 303 South Washington St. (206) 587-4033 or go to ggibsongallery.com. Also Saya Moriyasu has a ceramic piece originally commissioned by Safeco that depicts the artist’s house with 2 apple trees and 2 cats in the show “Magic Windows/ Framing Place” up until May 17th, 2015 at Whatcom Museum. The piece is now part of the museum’s collection. 121 Prospect St. in Bellingham.
“Woven Woods” is the title of a show by local Japanese artist Naoko Morisawa. She uses hundreds of slices of natural and oil- dyed wood chips on board to create an unusual mosaic/textural feel. Through July 14th. Ethnic Heritage Gallery at Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 Fifth Ave. on the third floor. (206) 684-7132. Go to seattle.gov/arts for details. Open Mon. – Fri.
The artwork of Seattle artist Ken Taya (ENFU) adorns two new traffic control boxes at the corner of 6th and Jackson. The boxes were created to draw attention to the Japantown area of the neighborhood.
Former Cornish College of the Arts student Lauren Iida’s latest body of work reflects her current experience living and working with children in rural Cambodia. She teaches art and English to the children of subsistence rice farmers in an area totally devastated by past US bombing and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. Her new work has expanded with the use of color, multiple layers of paper and collage-like objects woven into the cut paper. Some of the work is heavily influenced by the drawings of her students. To see the work, go to www.laureniida.com/todo.
The Yakima Valley Museum has the current exhibit, “Land of Joy and Sorrow – Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley” up until 2018. It tells the history of Japanese families who created a community there before the war. Only 10% of families returned to re-settle there after the war. 2105 Teton Dr. (509) 248-0741. In related news, a softball from this collection that saw play at Heart Mountain internment camp and owned by George Hirahara is now on loan to the Smithsonian and was on display in the incarceration section of the exhibit, “The Price of Freedom – Americans at War”. (As reported in the North American Post.)
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL named Chinese artist Ai Weiwei as a recipient of their Ambassador of Conscience Award which recognizes lifetime human-rights leadership. The other award went to folksinger Joan Baez.
“Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali’I” presents the first exhibition of Hawaiian featherwork on the U.S. mainland developed in partnership with the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu. Around 75 rare and stunning examples of the finest featherwork capes and cloaks in existence will be shown as well as royal staffs of feathers, feather lei, helmets, feathered god images and related paintings and works on paper. Opens August 29th, 2015 and remains on view through Feb. 28th, 2016. De Young
Seattle ceramic artist Akio Takamori has been traveling. A solo show entitled “Eros” in Switzerland and residencies where he worked out his skills in printmaking/drawing. So let’s see what new work he has produced since his UW retirement. In “The Beginning of Everything” (see related story elsewhere in this issue), the artist expands his visual vocabulary with stonewaresculpture of figures and landscapes as well as a series of prints tha delve into the “belly” of the artist’s mind. James Harris Gallery set for May 14th – June 20th. 604 Second Ave. (206) 903-6220 or go to jamesharrisgallery.com for details. Open Wed. – Sat. Takamori was also a recipient of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards given by the Portland Art Museum which will give him a show which runs from Oct. 2015 – Jan. 16th, 2016.
L.A. based sound and installation artist Joel Ong installs a piece entitled “Tuning Calibration of Tonal Awareness II” which is based on the theme of analog-digital exchanges, consisting of a grid of electronic string resonators triggered by Seattle wind data. Opening reception is Thurs., May 21st at 7pm. Artist talk on Fri., June 19th at 7pm. On view May 21st – July 2nd. Jack Straw New Media Gallery at 4261 Roosevelt Way NE. (206)634-0919 or go to www.jackstraw.org.
New work by artist Miya Ando will be shown at Winston Wachter Fine Art July 16th – Sept. 4th, 2015. Her work done in metal canvases and sculpture articulate themes of contradiction and juxtaposition of ideas. A descendant of Bizen sword makers, she was raised among sword smiths and Buddhist priests in Okayama, Japan. Ando shares the show with photographer Kim Keever. Opening reception is July 16th from 6 – 8pm. 203 Dexter Ave. N. (206) 652-5855 or go to www.winstonwachter.com.
The 2011 Japanese earthquake devastate the historic Japanese pottery town of Mashiko but it did not destroy the spirit of the potters. The Portland Japanese Garden brings the work of 13 Mashiko masters to a show entitled “Kizuna (translated as ‘the bonds between people’): The Rebirth of Mashiko Ceramics” set to open June 6th and remain on view through July 5, 2015. Work by contemporary potters range from traditional craft to contemporary art. Also featured are works by former Living Treasure artists Shoji Hamada and his protégé, Tatsuzo Shimaoka. To celebrate the exhibition opening, Kei Shimaoka, the grandson of Tatsuzo will lead artist demonstrations at the Pavillion from 1 – 3pm on June 6th. 611 SW Kingston Ave. in Portland. Exhibition is included with Garden admission. Open 10am to 7pm daily except for Mondays when it opens at noon. (503) 223-1321 or go to www.japanesegarden.com.
The work of noted Northwest ceramic sculptor Patti Warashina is included in SOFA, the annual expo show of sculpture, objects, functional art and design in Chicago. Nov. 6th – 8th, 2015. Opening night on Nov. 5th at Navy Pier. Go to sofaexpo.com for details.
“Ikko Style: The Graphic Art of Ikko Tanaka (1930-2002)” looks at how this internationally known Japanese designer’s ideas were visualized and transmitted to a broader audience. A must-see show for graphic designers and all art viewers interested in the beauty and power of graphic art. Through August 2nd, 2015 at USC Pacific Art Museum in Pasadena, Calif. Go to www.pacificasiamuseum.usc.edu.
Congratulations to conceptual installation artist Mel Chin who nabbed a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of Fine Arts.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – “CONSTRUCT/S” is a new group show that presents a diverse group of six international, national and local female artists who will transform The Wing’s art gallery into a multi-sensory, interactive exploration of identity, subjectivity, history, culture and gender. It is curated by Dr. Stacey Uradomo-Barre. It remains on view through April 17th, 2016. Artists include the following – Terry Acebo Davis from California recreates her mother’s bedroom drawing upon the fact that she is suffering from dementia. This room is a place she yearns to return to and the piece deals with a fragmented narrative of memory, loss, identity, and Filipino American culture. Kaili Chun from Hawai’I has an interactive installation of man-made steel bars that unlock to grapple with issues of subjectivity and community and reflect the continuous socio-political negotiation of Native Hawaiians with the mainstream society. Yong Soon Min from California, after a career exploring Korean American Identity and colonialism now examines her own personal struggle of pain and trauma as she tries to recover from a cerebral hemorrhage that affected her ability to form language and memories. Min has shown previously in Seattle with a temporary public art installation downtown sponsored by the then Seattle Arts Commission. Tamiko Thiel (Germany) & Midori Kono Thiel (Seattle) present a mother-daughter collaboration combining traditional calligraphy with mobile technology. Their augmented reality installation virtually links art and culture with physical landmarks significant to the local Japanese American community. Lynne Yamamoto from Massachusetts went to Evergreen College in Olympia as a student. She has shown here previously with an installation at Suyama Space and a show at Greg Kucera Gallery. Her new piece here was inspired by the early 20th century tent houses of Japanese immigrant farmers. This work interweaves family memories and community history, evoking the migratory nature of the Japanese American farming community. She also has a public art commission at the Seattle Public Library planned as well. A catalog for this show is available. The Young Family Collection of Qing Dynasty robes opened Jan. 15th . “Who Gets To Belong?” is an exhibit that looks at the Immigration Act of 1965 that lifted the quotas for Asian Pacific Islander immigration. This exhibit which opens March 5th from 6 – 8pm will look at the cultural and political climate that pushed for this act. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. Opens Oct. 4th with the full support of the Lee Family. The Wing is the only museum in the world, outside of Hong Kong, to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee’s life. The Lee family has plans to eventually open a permanent museum on Bruce Lee’s life and legacy in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood. “BOJAGI: Unwrapping Korean American Identities”, a new show on our local Korean American community opened Nov. 13th and remains on view through the spring of 2015. A new exhibit entitled “Puppet Power! Asian Traditions Come to Life” opened on July 19th. See innovative creations from Asian American puppet artists, video performances and hands-on puppet play. Created in partnership with the Northwest Puppet Center and the Valentinetti Puppet Museum. Family Fun Day features local author Ken Mochizuki and Midori Kono Thiel’s art workshop on Sat. May 9th from 11am – 4pm. “Han in the Upper Left: A Brieg History of Korean Americans in the Pacific Northwest” is a talk given on Thurs., June 4th at 6pm. RSVP by emailing [email protected] if you plan to attend. 719 South King St. (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org. Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. First Thursday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm. Third Saturday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – First Free Saturday family activity takes place from 11am – 2pm. “Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World” looks at the work of this pivotal member of the Japanese neo-pop art movement whose work merges the sweetness of kawaii culture with the cloudy future of a post-apocalyptic world. Includes photography, drawing and an animated video installation. Opens May 2nd and remains on view through Oct. 4th. “Calligraphic Abstraction” is a group show exploring the world of calligraphy in all its’ various forms of beauty from a Mark Tobey painting to Islamic, Chinese and Japanese examples. Opens May 9th and continues on view until October 4th in the Tateuchi Galleries. Dr. Alice Hunsberger introduces the work of Persian poet and philosopher Nasir Khusraw who traveled through 11th century Central Asia and the Middle East. Persian musical interludes performed by Ali Ghaemmaghami and Peyman Marandiz. Sun., May 31st at 3:30pm. Chinese Calligraphy workshops will be taught by Visiting Artist and art historian Dr. Lu Rong on June 18th & 25th and July 2nd & 29th from 6:30 – 8:30pm. Alvord Board Room of Seattle Asian Art Museum.Tickets include all required materials. Hurry as tickets are going fast. For complete information on all events, go to seattleartmuseum.org.
An intriguing new group exhibit of Australian aboriginal artists whose canvases mesmerize you with their density of pattern and the importance of the water hole in Aboriginal culture. On view through July 6th, 2015. Visit sam.org or call (206) 654-3100.
“Black Box 2.0 Festival” (sponsored by Aktions Art) is the second edition of Seattle’s first international art, film and technology festival with over sixty artists exhibited in eight locations throughout the city. The work of Stockholm-based American artist Lisa Tan is featured. May 6th – June 7th. Black Box is free but tickets are required. Go to www.aktionart.org or [email protected] for details.
Tacoma Art Museum has opened a new wing to accommodate the gift of a new collection. “ART OF THE AMERICAN WEST: The Haub Family Collection at Tacoma Art Museum just opened. Included in the present show is work by contemporary Chinese American artist Mian Situ. He creates epic paintings in the European tradition but inserts Chinese American immigrants as protagonists in scenes in which they’ve previously been missing. The photography of Seattle photographer Chao-Chen Yang is included in a group show entitled “Northwest in the West: Exploring Our Roots”. This show explores the distinct identity of Northwest art and how it has adopted, adapted and reacted against its western roots. A theme particularly apt and timely since the museum is building a new wing to house their new collection of Western art. Both shows through the fall of 2015. “Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff” was last seen in a smaller edition at Seattle’s Greg Kucera Gallery. A greatly expanded touring version opens June 20th at the museum. In this series, Shimomura inserts himself as an aging Asian Everyman in various guises, both political and poignant. There will be various activities connected to this show with details later. “Partners in NW Art: Selections from the Aloha Club Collection” is a group show of Northwest artists that were collected by the Tacoma community club from 1948 – 1971. This collection was given to the Museum by the organization. Ceramic artist Patti Warashina is represented in this collection. Opens June 27th and remains on view through Sept. 3rd. “Art AIDS America” is a groundbreaking exhibition that underscores the deep and unforgettable presence of HIV in American art from the 1980’s to the present. Co-curated by TAM Chief Curator Tock Hushka and Dr. Jonathan Katz who directs the Visual Studies Dpoctoral Program at the University of Buffalo. Opens Oct. 3rd and remains on view through Jan. 10th, 2016.Tacoma Art Museum is at 1701 Pacific Ave. (253) 272-4258 or go to TacomaArtMuseum.org.
The work of Koji Kubota and Junko Yamamoto is included in a group show entitled “The Moon Is Free” which highlights work with primary colors and playful shapes. May 7th – June 27th. ArtsWest Gallery. 4711 California Ave. SW in West Seattle. Thurs. – Sat. (206) 938-0339 or go to artswest.org.
Fujitaro Kubota immigrated from Japan in 1907 and bought a five-acre property in Seattle hoping to create a garden with the beauty of the Northwest as well as celebrating his Japanese heritage. Although he didn’t live to complete it, the garden still stands as a haven of quiet beauty in the area. Recently a new addition was completed and celebrated. The Terrace Overlook on a hill in the south end of the garden had a traditional blessing from the Seattle Konko Church. Kubota’s son Tom first conceived of the terrace. The Kubota Foundation hired Japanese master stone mason Suminori Awata to do the design with support from Kentaro Hoshide of Hoshide Wanzer Architects. Sculptor Gerard Tsutakawa built the steel railing around the pavilion. The next phase is to put a glass roof on the pavilion to be completed in the fall. The space will be available as an event space to the public for a nominal fee. Future plans include a new visitor’s center, public restrooms, foundation offices, meeting space and a gift shop. For more information, go to www.kubotagarden.org. Taken from the North American Post.
Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland has “Oregon Nikkei: Reflections of an American Community” a show that celebrates the lives and contributions of Oregon’s Nikkei community, and evokes memories of shared experiences – from early settlement through the trials and tribulations of WWII and into the 21st century. “Sakura Sakura” is a new show of photography by Motoya Nakamura on the theme of cherry blossoms as photographed and filmed in video around Portland. On view until June 14th. Open Tu. – Sat. 11am – 3pm and Sundays, noon – 3pm. 121 NW 2nd Ave. (503) 224-1458 or email [email protected].
The Museum of Contemporary Craft. Upcoming April 17th – August 16th in 2015 is “The New Frontier: Young Designer-Makers in the Pacific NW”. 724 NW Davis St. in Portland. (503) 223-2654 or go to mocc.pnca.edu.
“Meet Me at Higo” permanent exhibit- Part Two” presented and sponsored by the Wing is a multi-media presentation and self-guided tour that tells the origins and history of the store as a Japanese American five and dime. At Kobo at Higo, 604 South Jackson. E-mail [email protected] or call (206) 381-3000.
UW Henry Art Gallery has the following – “Viewpoints: Hiroshi Sugimoto” is a show of work by New York-based Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto on view May 10th – July 26th. The “University Of Washington 2015 MFA + MDES Thesis Exhibition includes work by Scott Ichikawa, Zheng (Victor) Wu, Lanxia (Summer) Wu and Kun Xu. On view May 23rd – June 21st. In conjunction with the Henry Art Gallery’s current exhibitions, the museum presents a series entitled “ARTBREAKS” in which artists, scholars, and community members present different ways to think about and relate to the materials and ideas in the art on view. On Sat., May 30th at 2:30pm, Seattle commercial and fine art photographer Megumi Arai will speak. Painting + Drawing UW MFA student Lanxia (Summer) Xie will talk about her work on Sat., June 6th at 2:30pm.All events take place at the Henry unless otherwise noted. Visit henryart.org for tickets and more information.
“Hand and Wheel – Contemporary Japanese Clay” looks at the long-standing ceramic tradition in Japan and surveys the work of modern ceramic artists working from the traditional to the contemporary. Organized by the Portland Art Museum and curated by Maribeth Graybill, Ph.D., The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Asian Art. On view through June 21, 2015. 1219 S.W. Park Ave. (503) 226-2811.
KOBO Gallery at Higo in Japantown/International District always has interesting shows of new ceramic work or work that conveys an Asian aesthetic. Go to koboseattle.com for updates. 604 S. Jackson St. (206) 381-3000.
“Conceal/Reveal: Making Meaning in Chinese Art” is a show that features a collection of Chinese Art curated with the intent of drawing a thematic line of “layered meaning” between all pieces. On view through June 21st, 2015. 1400 E. Prospect St. in Volunteer Park. (206) 654-3100 or go to seattleartmuseum.org.
Curator/sculptor/installation artist June Sekiguchi unleashes a whirlwind of activity by showing the fruits of her creative labors in various guises/projects/exhibitions and we are the richer for it. “Taki” (waterfall in Japanese) is a site specific piece to be permanently placed in the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery of Seattle Municipal Tower inspired by the famous woodblock print by Hokusai entitled “A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces”. 700 5th Ave. in downtown Seattle on the 6th floor. This piece can be seen from Oct. 23rd, 2014 on along with other pieces by Marita Dingus, Humaira Abid and Gustavo Martinez as curated by Preston Hampton. Finally Sekiguchi will be involved in a group show entitled “The Incredible Intensity of Just Being Human” which intends to examine the stigma and silence surrounding mental illness. A variety of people, from mental health advocates to community leaders/organizations will come together to speak about mental illness and its effects on our society. Sekiguchi’s son, Quin Breeland has created QR code links to the artists’ works and will have an audio/visual experiential multi-media piece. Tours by artists paired with mental health professionals are scheduled throughout the exhibition. At Seattle City Hall at 600 4th Ave. in the 4th floor lobby and Anne Focke Gallery. Sekiguchi also continues curating shows for Era Living. “First Impressions” is a group show of printmaking at Aljoya on Mercer Island at 2430 76th Ave. S.E. Opening with wine and snacks on Sat., May 9th from 11:30 – 3:30pm. “Face Valiue: The Art of Portraiture” at the Lakeshore at 11448 Rainier Ave. S. Opening with wine, snacks and music on wed., May 20th 4:30 – 6:30pm RSVP by May 18th. (206) 772-1200. “Environmental Art” at Ida Culver House Broadview. Wine, snacks & music at opening on May 21st from 4 – 6pm. RSVP by May 18th by calling (206) 361-1989. 12505 Greenwood Ave. N.
“Pop Goes the Melting Pot” is the title of a conversation between Seattle-raised artist Roger Shimomura and Gary Faigin, Gage Academy co-founder. The talk will explore the artist’s work which encompasses identity, politics, experience, history and artistic vision. Wed., July 15th at 7:30pm. His work is housed in permanent collections in over 90 museums and is represented by Flomenhaft Gallery in New York and Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle. The conversation takes place at Town Hall Seattle at 1119 Eighth Ave. (206) 652-4255 or go to [email protected]. “Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff” is a touring exhibit on view at Tacoma Art Museum June 20th – Sept. 13th.
Seattle photographer/educator Carina del Rosario has the following events now up or upcoming. Starting from March 2015, a selection from Carina’s “Passport Series” will be included in Wing Luke Museum’s upcoming post-1965 Immigration Act exhibition. For complete details on all these events, contact the artist direct at [email protected].
When does an Airbnb become an artistic work in progress you might ask? Well, when local artists like Rob Rhee and Dawn Cerny come into the picture and think about ways a living space can also reflect artistic choice. Now through the end of May, “Xenia” ( a Greek term for hospitality) as the project is called can be rented for a visitor’s stay at $100 a night. Got someone from out of town who also enjoys the puzzle of art, even in a space in which they may temporarily reside? This may be the home for them. The first thing one notices is that the living room looks like funky basic “Ikea” subverted by artistic ninjas overnight. The table made by sculptor Rhee has dreams and visions as pinned on the wall. On the same table sit a number of books with personal notes from a local artist’s personal collection describing in detail how each book fits into his vision of the Northwest. Against the wall sits a brown-stained ceramic cube. Rhee explains that it’s from an artist friend of his who philosophizes on the man-made material of the brick and how it can be used for building or tossing through a window. Stacks of folders by the artist sit by the piece explaining his approach. In the kitchen, Rhee points out the plates and mugs in the cupboard formed from a fragile gray clay. He says the slights stains in the cups mark their use by past guests, a barometer or footprint of previous use. In the bedroom, headphones line the wall but instead of the usual ear pads, one finds seashells designed to give you the sound of the sea as the music of choice to lull you to sleep. Above the headboard of the bed sits a painting of an ear. Rhee, a transplanted New Yorker and teacher at Cornish College of the Arts hopes that the space dissolves the lines between form, function and art – not as just a living space with art on the wall but a place that you can slow down and interactive with art in ways more intimate than say, a gallery or museum. For the artistic Sherlock Holmes in your life, think “Xenia”. If interested in renting this space, Rob Rhee can be reached at [email protected].
Local artist Etsuko Ichikawa has a new solo show entitled “Act of Drawing” at Michael Warren Contemporary, a gallery in Denver from May 12th – June 13th. A short film demonstrating her process of making Glass Pyrographs is part of the exhibit. The artist will attend the opening reception on May 15th from 6 – 9pm and also give a short presentation. 760 Santa Fe Dr. in Denver, Colorado. For details, email [email protected] or call (303) 635-6255.
On view till June 7, 2015 is “Elegance & Nobility: Modern & Contemporary Korean Literati Taste”. And finally “Vistas of a World Beyond: Traditional Gardens in Chinese Material Culture” is on view until July 5, 2015.University of Oregon Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. 1430 Johnson Lane in Eugene. (541) 346-3027 or visit jsma.uoregon.edu.
Oakland Museum of California presents a major exhibition on historic and contemporary pacific cultures and peoples and their interactions with California. “The East Coast of the Pacific” opens May 30th and remains on view through Jan. 3rd, 2016. The show explores the on-going connections and intersecting experiences of Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, along with Filipinos, Native Californians, and American collectors and colonists. 1000 Oak St. in Oakland, CA. For details, go to museumca.org or http://www.museumca.org/.
The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture must be one of the few small museums in the country devoted to Japanese art. Located in the farmlands around Hanford in the San Joaquin Valley, Clark is a dairy farmer. His interest in Japanese art was piqued as a child in the 6th grade when he saw a picture of a Japanese garden in a textbook and was mesmerized. A stint in the Navy while in Japan provided him with the opportunity to visit temples, farmhouses and gardens and he purchased his first Japanese art at that time. They expanded their home into a museum as the collection grew over the next 20 years. Their last exhibition entitled “Elegant Pastime: Masterpieces of Japanese Art from the Clark Collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts” closes June 30th. After that, the collection goes to Minneapolis and the center closes. The Center is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1-5pm for a small admission fee. 15770 – 10th Ave. in Hanford,CA. (559) 582-4915.
New work by Seattle artist Diem Chau is on exhibit through Oct. 31st, 2015 at the Philadelphia Zoo as part of “Second Nature”, an array of artist installations that ell the stories of endangered species through the use of recycled, reduced, reused, repurposed and renewed materials. Her series of carved crayons “Precious Few” take the forms of 48 animals on the endangered species list. The zoo is at 3400 W. Girad Ave. in Philadelphia. Their phone # is (215) 243-1100. Diem Chau is represented locally by G. Gibson Gallery (ggibsongallery.com) and she is open to commissions.
“China Through The Looking Glass” is a new show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York through August 16th. It explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fuled the fasionable imagination for centuries. Organized by The Costume Institute in collaboration with the Met’s Department of Asian Art. 1000 – 5th Ave. (212) 535-7710 or go to www.metmuseum.org.
Some upcoming shows at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston include the following – “In The Wake – Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11” on view April 5th – July 12th. Also opening April 5th and remaining on view until August 9th is “Hokusai”, a show of prints by the great Japanese woodblock printer. “Crafted Objects in Flux” is a group show that look at artists who “simultaneously blur and expand craft’s landscape.” Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa is included in this show and she has plans to do a live performance sometime during the run of the show. On view August 25th – January 10th, 2016. 465 Huntington Ave. in Boston. (617) 267-9300.
“Buddhist Art of Myanmar” continues on view until May 10th. “South and Southeast Asian Sculpture from the Asia Society Museum” remains on view until May 19th. Opening May 19th and on view until July 19th is “Inspired by Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot; Works by New York City Students.” Comprised of students impressions of the Paik show they had seen at the Museum earlier. From June 9th – July 19th is a show of video and photography from China. Opening Sept. 10th and on view through Jan. 3, 2016 is “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms”. It showcases recently excavated objects that highlight the prosperity and achievements of the little-known Philippine Kingdoms that flourished long before the Spanish discovered the region and colonized it. They affirm the unprecedented creativity, prosperity, and sophisticated metalworking tradition of the pre-colonial period. They also attest to flourishing cultural connections and maritime trade in Southeast Asia during what was an early Asian economic boom. Asia Society Museum at 725 Park Ave. in New York City. Go to AsiaSociety.org/museum for details.
“After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997” is an ambitious group show that looks at the changing role of art in that country. Work by the Progessive Artists Group by artists like M. F. Husain, S. H. Raza, E. N. Souza produced in the wake of that country’s newly won independence in the late 40’s will be paired with contemporary examples by artists like Shilpa Gupta and Dayanita Singh. Opened on March 8th and remains on view through June 28th at the Queens Museum. Located in Queens, New York in the New York City Building, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park. (718) 592-9700 or go to www.queensmuseum.org.
For some reason, the state of Texas is bursting with new shows on Japanese art. The Museum of Fine Art in Houston has the following shows – “For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968 – 1979” in the Beck Building at 5601 Main St. through July 18th and “Unfolding Worlds: Japanese Screens and Contemporary Ceramics from the Gitter-Yellen Collection” till May 10th at the Law Building at 1001 Bissonet st. (713) 639-7300. And in Dallas at the Dallas Art Museum you’ll find “Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga” up till July 19th. Both artists were members of the Gutai group, the leading avant-garde organization of post-war Japanese artists that incorporated performance into their art events. 1717 North Harwood. (214) 922-1200.
In 1947, Britain partitioned India by religious belief creating Pakistan. More than a million people lost their lives during Partition as they were forced to move from ancestral homes to accommodate religious re-districting. Now, over 1,000 survivors of Partition have been interviewed on camera for the 1947 Partition Archive, a new museum dedicated to this event. It is quietly located on the upper floor of a bank building in downtown Berkeley, California. The 1947 Partition Archive founder is Guneeta Singh Bhalla. It is seen as a race against time as many of the survivors are now in their 70’s and 80’s. Bhalla reflects on her visit to the Hiroshima Memorial Museum and how the oral histories of that event stood out as so vivid. It inspired her to create an archive on the Partition, an event that was little known around the world but had tragic, long- standing consequences for generations of families. Go to http://www.1947Partition-Archive.org/ for more information.
Mary Griggs Burke, a late trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of art and renowned collector of Japanese art has given through her estate more than 300 works of Japanese art and a 17.5 million endowment to the museum. An endowment of equal size is being given to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Burke was a Minnesota native who eventually settled in New York.
The 2015 Prudential Eye Awards for Contemporary Asian Art held in Singapore gave out the following awards. Tokyo-based collective Chim/Pom was named the Overall Best Emerging Artist. Hong Kong’s Asia Art Chive won Best Asian Contemporary Art Institution. Chinese artist Gu Wenda received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Asian Contemporary Art.
Japanese Brazilian abstract artist Tomie Ohtake died in February. She was 101. Known primarily as a painter, she also did sculpture and prints. From 1950 – 62, she did a series of blindfolded paintings perceived as a critique of the extreme rationalism of the Brazilian art scene at the time. A cultural center bearing her name has opened up in Sao Paulo.
Thai artist Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s early work centered on printmaking and sculpture. In the late 1990’s, she started making videos and films. She teaches at Chiang Mai University. Her most famous work is a series on corpses. In “The Class”, editions 1 through 3, she can be seen delivering lectures on death to a classroom of student corpses. A retrospective of her work was recently shown at the Sculpture Center in Long Island, New York. 44 – 19 Purves St. (718) 361-1750.
“Man of Letters” is an article by Brian Droitcour in the April issue of “Art in America” chronicling the publishing activities of experimental artist Paul Chan.
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has been named “World’s Most Popular Artist” in 2014 the Art Newspaper reported. Kusama is 86 and has lived voluntarily in a mental health institution in Tokyo since 1977. A traveling retrospective of her work that toured South and Central America drew over 2 million viewers. A second retrospective now in Taiwan will be traveling to New Delhi. The publication dubbed her “the new poster girl for the globalization of contemporary art.”
Congratulations to local artists Humaira Abid and June Sekiguchi who both received grants from Artist Trust this year. Both artists show locally at ArtXchange Gallery.
Robert Francis Flor’s short play “Pinakbet” will be part of the Eclectic Theatre Festival set for June 27th at 7:30pm. The play explores the seed of interracial marriage in the Filipino community during pre-WW II Seattle. Stars Matt de la Cruz, Jana Gueck, Laurie Torres and Raul Peyret. Co-directed by the playwright with Len Goodman, Artistic Director of the Festival. 1214 – 10th Ave., a block north of Seattle University. Tickets through Brown Paper Tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1640540.
Seattle Theaterwala’s musical dramedy entitled “Jaysa Ka Taysa (“Tif For Tat”), a Bengali play by Girish Chandra Ghosh will be performed with English subtitles as directed by Rumela Ganguly. June 14th at 2:30pm 7 4:45pm and again on June 20th at 4:30pm & 6:45pm. Ethnic Cultural Theater at 3940 Brooklyn Ave. N.E. Go to http://www.vibha.org/jaysa-ka-taysa for tickets and information.
Deems Tsutakawa Quartet plays Capitol Cider on Sun., June 7th at 5:30pm. 818 East Pike. Go to www.capitolcider.com for details.
The Steve Griggs Ensemble plays “Music Made from Japanese American Memories of WW II” at the Panama Hotel Tea Room at 2pm every Saturday in 2015. Free. 605 South Main St. Sponsored by 4Culture, National Park Serice, and Earshot Jazz. For details, go to panamahoteljazz.blogspot.com.
Pagdiriwang is the annual Filipino arts festival held annually at Seattle Center. This year on June 6th and 7th with performances, exhibits, food and kids activities. A film series around the theme of the island of Mindanao is also showing. Go to festalpagdiriwang.com for details.
Jazz vocalist Sachal Vasandani is just one of many major jazz musicians appearing at Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend, a weeklong workshop and festival directed by John Clayton from July 19th – 26th at Fort Worden State Park. Includes daily instruction from professional faculty and concerts as well. For details, go to centrum.org or call (360) 385-3102×109.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the programs Seattle Symphony has to offer under the baton of Music Director Ludovic Morlot later this year going into 2016. Dynamic pianist Lang Lang takes on Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor” along with works by Beethoven, Respighi and Greig’s “Piano Concerto” with the Seattle Symphony on Sunday, October 11th at 2pm. Gershwin’s American masterpiece, “Rhapsody In Blue” is performed Oct. 16th – 18th with Jeff Tyzik conducting, Jon Nakamatsu on piano and Doug LaBrecque on vocals. Meeka Quan Di Lorenzo on cello, and Jessica Choe on piano join other members of the Seattle Symphony as they perform a program of chamberworks by Bernstein, Carter, Prokofiev and Shostakovich on Oct. 27th at 7:30pm in Nordstrom Recital Hall. Want comedy with your music? The duo of Ingudesman & Joo return to Seattle after their success in 2012 at Benaroya with an all new show that mixes laughs with classical music and popular culture on March 3rd at 7:30pm.If you want a preview of the music the Symphony will be playing on their upcoming tour of Asia, check out the Ravel Piano Concerto as performed with Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano along with music by Faure and Dvorak on June 5th.
Seattle Opera has announced their 2015/16 season under new General Director Aidan Lang. It marks a return to full-year programming with a total of six operas,, new productions and a world premiere. Many productions will also highlight new Asian and Asian American performers. Coming in August is “An American Dream” based on true stories from the Northwest. The opera tells the story of a Japanese American family forcibly removed from an island in Puget Sound during WW II. Nina Yoshida Nelsen, Adam Lau and Hae Ji Chang perform the roles of the family. Judith Yan makes her Seattle Opera debut, as conductor of the orchestra. Jonathan Lemalu, a Samoan from New Zealand makes his Seattle Opera debut singing the role of Nourabad in Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” next. Finally, Director Lang returns to stage directing Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”. Chinese-born bass-baritone Shenyang makes his Seattle Opera debut as Figaro. McCaw Hall at Seattle Center at 321 Mercer St. (206) 389-7676 or try 1-800-426-1619 or go to [email protected].
Noted Seattle singer/songwriter Tomo Nakayama sings songs from his latest release on Sat., June 6th at 4pm outdoors at UW’s Henry Art Gallery. Part of the “Senses of Summer” series at the museum which brings artists and audiences together for a series of intimate outdoor concerts that heighten the senses and embraces the possibilities of a warm summer evening. Go to henryart.org for details.
Comedian Aparna Nancherla performs in the Comedy Womb series at Theatre Off Jackson on June 21st. 409 – 7th Ave. S. Doors open at 7pm and show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets available at Stranger Tickets.
Sound Theatre Company presents a Seattle Premiere production of noted British playwright Tom Stoppard’s “Indian Ink” done in collaboration with local South Asian theatre company Pratidhwani. The story is about a British woman poet in India who falls in love with an Indian painter and the complications that follow. August 13th – 30th. Presented at the Center Theater at the Seattle Center Armory at 305 Harrison St. Go to www.SoundTheaterCompany.org for details. Pratidhwani Theatre group also premieres a new production entitled “Dance Like a Man” on July 24th. For details, go to www.pratidhwani.org or call (425) 522-3570.
Congratulations to jazz musician Chris Icasiano who as part of the Table & Chairs Collective nabbed a Golden Ear Award from Earshot Jazz for “NW Concert of the Year.”
ACT Theatre celebrates their 50th anniversary with their 2015 Season. Some highlights include the following – “Threesome” by Seattle playwright Yussef El Guindi is a world premiere co-production with Portland Center Stage set for June 5th – 28th. Jeanne Sakata’s “Hold These Truths” based on the true story of UW student Gordon Hirabayashi who confronts the government over their orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast During WW II was a sold-out hit in a short run last year. Now it returns for a multi-week run July 17th – August 16th. 700 Union St. (206) 292-7676 or go to acttheatre.org.
The “Seattle International Dance Festival-Beyond The Threshold” comes to town from June 12th – 27th. With dancer companies local, national and international appearing at various venues around town. It also marks the sponsoring organization, Khambatta Dance Company’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. Besides performances, there will also be a chance to study dance in workshops with some of the visiting dance troupes. Of special interest is a dance company called “Hong Kong Exile” consisting of dancers from Hong Kong and Vancouver, BC. They present “NINEEIGHT”, a sensory driven multimedia dance theatre work inspired by Mo Lei Tau, a phenonmenon of absurdist, comedic film that emerged in Hong Kong in the 1990’s. Through an eccentric cinematic language, the work seethes with the climate of political anxiety of Hong Kong just before its handover to Mainland China in 1997, reflecting on personal fractures, disorientation, and the significance of a “motherland” at times of political, social and geographical transition. Paired with badmarmarDance, a local Seattle dance company who took last year’s “Spotlight on Seattle Artistic Development Award”. Part of Program A set for June 19th and 20th at 8pm. Another highlight and festival favorite from 2014 are Jerome Aparis of Massive Monkeys and Ezra Thomson of Pacific Northwest Ballet who meld the grace of ballet to the energetic moves of Hip Hop/B-Boy moves. This work employs elements of last year’s work along with original music by William Lin Yee. On a double program with Dancing People from Ashland, Oregon who are back by popular demand. . On Program B on June 21st at 7:39pm.Venues include Raisback Hall Theater at the Cornish College of the Arts at 2015 Boren Ave and the Moore Theater at 1932 2nd Ave. For tickets go to seattleidf.strangertickets.com or call (888) 377-4510. For more information, go to www.SeattleID.org or call (206) 552-0694.
Set for 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2015/2016 season is the World Premiere of “Waterfall, The Musical” based on the Thai novel “Behind the Painting” about a forbidden love affair between a young Thai student and the American wife of a Thai diplomat in 1930’s Thailand on the eve of WWII. It marks the U.S. debut of Thai music superstar Bie Sukrit Wisetkaew as the student and is directed by Tak Viravan. With book & lyrics by Richard Malty Jr. and choreography by Dan Knechtges. This is a co-production with Pasadena Playhouse and is billed as “a groundbreaking collaboration between Oscar and Tony-winning American and Asian theatrical artists”. October 1st – 25th. Subscribe by April 27th for the best seats. Go to www.thavenue.org or call (206) 625-1900.
The UW World Series season for 2015/2016 has some extraordinary performances booked from around the world. For their UW Seattle Meany Hall location. In the “World Dance Series”, Seattle favorites Sankai Juku return with the North American premiere of “Umusuna: Memories Before History” Oct 1 – 3 at 8pm. This work by this contemporary butoh group evokes the essence of duality and unity encapsulated in the Chinese characters for “birth” and “earth” that combine to form the work’s title. The Akram Khan Company is known for fusing the classical Indian form of kathak with contemporary dance. They make their northwest debut with “Kaash” in which the theme of Hindu gods, black holes, Indian time cycles, tablas, creation and destruction all play key roles. Nov. 12 – 14th at 8pm. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center consisting of CMS Co-Artistic Director and Pianist Wu Han and violinists Sean lee and Benjamin Bellman take solo turns in music by Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. One night only on March 19th, 2016 at 7:30pm. The Daedalus Quartet plays Friday, April 29th, 2016 at 7:30pm with work by Beethoven and the world premiere of a new work by UW Music composer Huck Hodge. In the “Special Events” category, the Peking Acrobats and sitarist Anoushka Shankar make appearances. Peking Acrobats come to perform their daring balance maneuvers with live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments on Sat., Jan. 23, 2016 at 3pm and 7:30pm. Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of the late virtuoso sitar master, Ravi Shankar brings her own genre-defying mix to the instrument with Indian music, electronica, jazz, flamenco and Western classical music all playing a part. She performs on Sat., April 9th, 2016 at 8pm. A “Special Engagement” will feature “An Evening with Yo-Yo Ma” on Tues., Dec. 8, 2015 at 7:30pm. This world – renowned cellist has recorded classical music and has never been afraid to collaborate with musicians from various genres from all over the world. This appearance is a rare opportunity to hear him in an intimate space. (206) 543-4880 or go to uwworldseries.org or get tickets in-Person at 1313 NE 4lst St. Ticket office open M – F from 11am – 6pm.
“Turbine for Moving Choir” by Seattle composer Byron Au Yong receives its World Premiere on June 27th & June 28th at 7:30pm at the Fairmount Water Works at 640 Water Works Drive in Philadelphia. It was commissioned by the Leah Stein Dance Company and Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Water Works.
Bay Area performing arts couple “First Voice” consisting of performance artist/storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki and composer/musician/jazz bassist Mark Izu has a lot of creative irons in the fire. Their new project entitled “SUITE J-TOWN – The Art Of Resilience” has its world premier in the May of 2015 in San Francisco’s Japantown community. It pays tribute to the 100-year history of Japantown through music, dance, visual art, story, sound collage, video and site-specific installations performed in different historic sites. Created by First Voice with the collaboration of the next generation ‘hapa’ artists, “the project will rediscover and strengthen the soul of a community in an effort to continue our presence in today’s rapidly changing San Francisco landscape.” Other projects include a new commission with conductor Kent Nagano based in Montreal. Locally we can expect to see Brenda and Mark come to Seattle with a production entitled “Uncle Gunjiro’s Girlfriend” August 12th, 2015, a tale from Brenda’s family history at Trinity Church. Also composer/bassist Mark Izu has a new cd of all new compositions entitled “The Music of Mu” based on a musical about the magical journey of a young man from the land above and a Japanese mermaid from the deep blue sea. For booking information you can contact calartists.com or the artists direct at www.aokizu.com.
On May 22nd, Spoleto Festival USA presents the world premiere of “Paradise Interrupted” a new “installation opera” that features an origami paper garden that unfolds on an empty stage. Conceived by artist Jennifer Wen Ma with music by Huang Ruo and starring Qian Yi as a dreamer in search of an unattainable ideal.
Actor George Takei of “Sulu” fame has a Broadway play entitled “Allegiance” that tells the story about Japanese American internment during World War II. It opens Nov. 6th on Broadway and stars Takei and “Miss Saigon” star Lea Salonga. He is crowdfunding the play on Indiegogo at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/george-takei-s-legacy-project. His hope is that when the play turns a profit, money will be put into an endowment to fund shows at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
The 30th Annual Downbeat Student Music Awards have been announced and once again, Asian Americans fill the ranks of winners. Kudos to the following –In the “Jazz Soloist” category, pianist Matt Wong of Independence High School in San Francisco, CA and alto saxophonist Eric Nakanashi of Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, CA received honors. In the “Vocal Jazz Soloist” category, Monica Pabelonio of Western Michigan University School of Music took top honors. In the category of “Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist”, guitarist Stephanie Chow of Thomas Metcalf Laboratory School at Illinois State University took top honors. In the category of “Original Composition – Small Ensemble” at the Junior High School level, Matt Wong of Independence High School in San Francisco won for “It Crossed My Mind” and Calvin Lu of Colts Neck High School in New Jersey won for “Marche Capricclo”. In the “Original Composition – Large Ensemble” category at the high school level, Matt Wong of Independence High School in San Francisco,CA won for “Prima Luce” and Robbie Lee of Tucson Jazz Institute in Tucson,AZ won for “Soulful Lee”. Finally in the “Jazz Arrangement” category at the high school level, Kanoa Mendenhall of NOVA Independent School in Novato, CA. won for “Tin Tin Deo” and Matt Wong of Independence High School in San Francisco, CA won for “Voyage.”
Film & Media
Noted Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu’s silent film masterpiece, “A Story of Floating Weeds” has been restored and will be screened on Sat., July 11th for one time only at 7pm. It will be enhanced with a new score with benshi (Japanese film narrator) and performed live by local Seattle treasure, Aono Jikken Ensemble. SIFF Cinema Uptown at 511 Queen Anne Ave. North. Go to siff.net/cinema for tickets and information.
Japanese film director Junichi Suzuki’s “Nisei Trilogy” looks at the Japanese experience during World War II. The first part entitled “Toyo’s Camera” looks at the photos illegally taken inside an internment camp by the late Japanese American photographer Toyo Miyatake played at SIFF in early May. “442: Live With Honor, Die With Dignity” which covers the story of the 442nd Infantry Regiment composed mainly of Japanese Americans will screen on June 27th at Nisei Vets Hall and “MIS: Human Secret Weapon” looks at the mostly-Nisei intelligence operatives working for the army and that screens on June 28th at SIFF Cinema Uptown. For details, call (206) 324-9996.
“Factory Complex” is a documentary film that reflects on the dire conditions of female factory workers in Asia. It won the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Biennale. Im Heung-Soon is the director and he said the film was partly influenced by his mother who had worked at a sewing factory and his sister who works at a department store apparel section. Some shots show women standing motionless with eyes covered. The director said that some women who worked in factories couldn’t breathe or open their eyes because of the dense dust. The film reflects the director’s art background. He felt it was necessary to distance himself from the object.
The Written Arts/Talks
“Fighting for America: NISEI SOLDIERS” is a graphic novel that tells the story of six Nisei soldiers from the Pacific Northwest who proved their loyalty and made a significant mark in American history. Profiles of Shiro Kashino, Roy Matsumoto, Tosh Yasutake, Jimmie Kanaya, Frank Nishimura and Turk Suzuki. Text by Lawrence Matsuda and illustrations by Matt Sasaki. This graphic novel is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2015. Go to wingluke.org/fighting-for-america for details.
Elliott Bay Book Company has another list of readings set for spring in their store as well as at various venues around the city. All readings at the bookstore unless other wise noted. EYE ON INDIA presents WORDS ON WATER: Writers in Conversation with Sonal Khullar, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Prajwal Parajuly on Wed., June 10th at 6:30pm at Seattle Asian Art Museum. Co-presented with TEAMWORK ARTS, the GARDNER CENTER FOR ASIAN ART & IDEAS AT THE SEATTLE ASIAN ART MUSEUM and Elliott Bay. Sonal Khullar is a professor of South Asian art at UW and she will speak about her new book entitled “Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930 – 1990 (UC Press). Poet, editor, and translator Arvind Krishna Mehrotra has a new book entitled “Collected Poems 1969 – 2014” (Penguin India) as well as the U.S. published “Songs of Kabir” (NYRB Books). Indian-Nepali fiction writer Prajwal Parajuly has a first book of short stories entitled “The Gurkha’s Daughter” and a new novel entitled “Land Where I flee” (both on Querus books). More information at www.seattleartmuseum.org. The evening includes chai and snacks. The Museum is at 1400 East Prospect in Volunteer Park. On Sat., June 13th at 7pm, a discussion of Seattle writer Joyce Yarrow’s 3 year long-distance writing collaboration with Indian journalist Arindam Roy will take place. The project culminated in a novel entitled “Rivers Run Back” (Vitasta Publishing 2015) which has been well received in India. Yarrow’s co-author will participate via Skype in this unique event. On June 22nd at 7:30pm, Elliott Bay presents with Town Hall Seattle a discussion with Kentaro Toyama with Wier Harman. Toyama is the author of “Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology” (Public Affairs). Toyama, an award-winning computer scientist came to view the world differently after working for Microsoft in India and realizing that “one size doesn’t always fit all.” Go to www.townhallseattle.org or call 1-888-377-4510 for details. Nisid Hajari talks about his new book entitled “Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Wed., July 1st at 7pm. Elliott Bay Book Company is on Capitol Hill at 1521 – 10th Avenue. (206) 624-6000.
Seattle-raised poet/educator Brian Komei Dempster (now based in San Francisco) comes to Portland on behalf of his poetry book, “Topaz” to engage in several activities. On Sat., June 6th he will be reading from the book and talk about his editing projects with the Japanese American community in conjunction wth a photography exhibit by Motoya Nakamura at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. At 3pm, the collaborative project with Nakamura will center on the power of poetry, writing, and visual art to express complex issues of identity and the wartime camp experiences and legacy of Japanese Americans. Go to http://www.oregonnikkei.org/activities.htm for details. On Sun., June 7th, Dempster presents a Literary Arts Writing Workshop at 10am entitled “Intersections of Identity and Experience, History”. Go to http://www.literary-arts.org/product/intersections-of-identity-and-experience-history-and-imagination-a-generative-workshop-with-brian-komei-dempster/ for details. Finally on Tues., June 9th he gives a Literary Arts Presentation at 7pm with Janice Namura, author of “Daughters of the Samurai” (Norton). Go to http://www.literary-arts.org/event/brian-dempster-janice-namura/ for details.
In response to current national unrest due to race and gender inequality, Hugo House has added a class that provides insight to writers tackling the difficult task of writing about contemporary topics while avoiding clichés and stereotypes. Runs in a series from April 11th – June 13th on Saturdays from 10am – noon. Writer/instructors include Wendy Call, Jane Wong, David Schmader, Anne Liu Kellor, Charles Mudede, EJ Koh, Anastacia Tolbert, Corinne Manning, Michelle Penazola and Emily Warren. Also noted poet Prageeta Sharma teaches a 1 day class entitled “The Myth of the Poetry Workshop” on Sat., May 23rd from 1 – 4pm. For details, go to Hugohouse.org or Facebook.com/HugoHouse or Twitter:@HugoHouse.
“The Sympathizer” (Grove Atlantic) by Viet Thanh Nguyen is told through the arresting voice of a double agent living among Vietnamese refugees in 1970’s America.
The Cleaver Quarterly is a new magazine devoted to the discussion of Chinese food and culture. Think of the culinary magazine “Lucky Peach” with a Chinese emphasis and you get the idea. Latest issue includes articles like “Rice Killers”, “Dandelion Cuisine”, “Food Proverbs”, “Pork Graffiti”, “Dim Sum Doodles”, “Melon Diplomacy”, “Hell Food” and “Egg Extravaganza”. Go to www.thecleaverquaerterly.com for details.
The UW Library (Seattle campus) was the surprise recipient of over 15,000 Korean manhwa (comics) recently when an antiquities shop found their purchase of a storage locker of them would not be an easy sell. Instead they donated them to UW Library. The gift takes on added significance since print manhwa in Korea is a dying species being replaced by digital comics. The library hopes that their preservation of these comics will be an important resource to those interested in this vital facet of Korean culture in the future.
One finds it hard to keep up with the steady stream of new titles coming out even in the limited categories of works by or about Asian Americans and new titles on Asia but here’s a recent sampling:
Stanford University History Professor Gordon Chang’s latest book is entitled “Fateful Ties – A History of America’s Preoccupation with China” (Harvard University Press).
“From Both Shores – An Anthology of Japanese and Chinese American Women’s Family Memoirs” as Edited by Bay Area poet Ginny Lim is the latest pubishing project of the Japanese Community and Cultural Center of Northern California. To order copies, go to www.createspace.com.
“She Will Build Him A City” (Bloomsbury) is the latest novel by veteran New Delhi journalist and writer Raj Kamal Jhan. This blistering novel explores the terrible reality of India as seen through the eyes of various characters struggling to achieve their dreams deferred in New Delhi.
“What Pearl Harbor Wrought? Is a novel by veteran journalist Akio Konoshita. This novel traces the trauma of Pearl Harbor and how it affected Japanese Americans. The author is an Issei who was interned at Heart Mountain during WW II.
“For the Pink Dianthus” is a collection of haiku and tanka poems by Yoshie Hikage who also provided the illustrations. The English translation is by performing artist Brenda Wong Aoki. Published by Matsuhide of San Francisco. For details, go to www.matsuhidecompany.com.
“The Blind Writer” (UH Press) is a book of stories and a novella by Sameer Pandya. Pandya came to California from India when he was eight. The stories in this book follow the lives of first and second generation Indian Americans in today’s California as they navigate the memory of immigration in their everyday living. The book is anchored by a novella that tells the story of a triangular relationship between a blind, aging writer, his younger, beautiful wife and a young writer desperate to start his writing career.
“Sanyan Stories – Favorites From A Ming Dynasty Collection” (UW Press) is compiled by Feng Menglong and translated by Shuhui Yang & Yunqin Yang. These stories were pivotal to the development of Chinese vernacular fiction.
“A Far Corner – Life And Art With The Open Circle Tribe” (Nebraska) by Scott Ezell is a journey into the life and world of indigenous peoples in the mountains of Taiwan as told by a young American musician and poet
Frank Chin’s long-lost novel, “The Confessions of a Number One Son” (once entitled “Charlie Chan On Maui”) written during the 1970’s when he was stranded on the islands is finally seeing the light of day. It will be published by the University of Hawai’i as edited by Calvin McMillin. Set for March, 2015 publication. Chunks of the book were seen in a different format as the play-in-progress “Gee Pop!” back in the 70’s. Chin was recently in town to be interviewed for a filmed segment on his take on Asian American Theatre for the Theatre Communications Group. A tour with readings is planned for the book by McMillin at times in tandem with Chin.
“Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye” is a memoir by Marie Mutsuki Mockett that is part evocative travelogue and part lyrical meditation of grief in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan that affected her family in different ways.
Anne Elizabeth Moore’s books on her experience in Cambodia continues with “New Girl Law: Drafting a Future for Cambodia” (Cantankerous Titles). Moore works with young Cambodian girls in a year-long process to re -write the staunchly traditional and repressive Chbap Srei, a 17th century book intended to establish a code of conduct for young women. The book details that experience and how it affected the women involved. Go to cantankeroustitles.com for more information.
The late Ming Cho Lee was one of the most respected set designers in the history of American theatre. His new approaches radically altered the direction of American set design in the 20th century. “Ming Cho Lee – A Life In Design” (TCG) by Arnold Aronson is a book that looks at his life, his influences and lays out pictorially and in text, his major set designs for theatre productions across the country during his entire career.
“A Map of Betrayal” (Pantheon), the new novel by Ha Jin looks at the complex loyalties of a Chinese American spy who considers himself a patriotic citizen of both countries and the tragic results of those beliefs.
One of Chinese literature translator Howard Goldblatt’s projects was his translation of “Market Street – A Chinese Woman in Harbin” (UW Press) by Xiao Hong. Originally published in 1936, the then 20 year old author recounts two years of her life in Harbin from 1932-34. Hong is best known for “Field of Life and Death” and “Tales of Hulan River.” Comes with a new preface by the translator.
“The Seventh Day” (Pantheon) is the latest novel by Chinese writer Yu Hua. What happens to a young Chinese man who meets an accidental death and must roam the after world aimlessly, lacking the money for a burial plot. Hua tells his story as he encounters the souls of the people he’s lost.
“Soundtracks Of Asian America – Navigating Race Through Musical Performance” (Duke) is a new book by Grace Wang. In it she explores how Asian Americans use music to construct narratives of self, race, class, and belonging in national and transnational spaces.
Lisa See’s novel of Chinese American nightclub performers in pre-WWII San Francisco entitled “China Dolls” has just been released in a trade paperback edition by Random House.
Wave Books publishes poetry books but also has a pamphlet series. Each pamphlet is usually sent out to subscribers but a few copies of the latest Wave Pamphlet: Nine by local poet/writer Don Mee Choi entitled “Freely Frayed,ᄏ=q, & Race=Nation” is currently available for sale at local all-poetry bookstore, Open Books located in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Essays consist of lectures Choi gave at AWP 2014 and a “Race & Creative Writing Conference 2014” at the University of Montana, Missoula on Korean poet Kim Hyesoon, the Korean language and a talk entitled “Reading Race”. 2414 N. 45th St. (206) 633-0811 or email [email protected].
“Meltdown in Tibet – China’s Reckless Destruction of Ecosystems From The Highlands of Tibet to The Deltas of Asia” (Palgrave Macmillan) by Michael Buckley chronicles the ecological abuses inflicted on this country by the Chinese government in the way of large-scale mining and hydropower projects.
Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s graphic novel “This One Summer” (First Second Books) has won the Caldecott Honor, an award given to the most distinguished American picture book for children published each year. A coming-of-age story of a couple mixed-race Canadian girls in a small town.
The Japan Times reports that noted Japanese writer Haruki Murakami started an advice column on the internet in January. After two weeks he received more questions than the number of people who can comfortably fit into a baseball stadium. He likens it to the ancient greeks in a stadium, each person in the crowd raising their hand up to question a speaker and feels that the proliferation of the I phone device to the overwhelming response. He thinks it will take time but he hopes that he will be able to respond to each and every question.
Artist Trust invites visual artists in Washington State to apply to the EDGE Professional Development Program which is a comprehensive survey of professional practices through a hands-on, interactive curriculum that includes instruction by professionals in the field as well as specialized presentations, panel discussions, and assignments. Edge takes place in Port Townsend Oct. 24th – 3lst. Applications will be accepted until June 30th, 2015. There are some scholarships available as well. The Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) has a final deadline of May 18th, 2015. However early birds who submit by May 10th get to have their application reviewed for clarity and completeness and be entered in a raffle to win a free Artist Trust membership. Go to www.artisttrust.org for more details.
The Frye Art Museum has a full slate of Summer Studio Art Classes from June to August 2015 as well as a Kids Camp in Dramatic Arts. Artist Lois Yoshida teaches an Introduction to Ink and Brush Painting. For details on classes and registration, call (206) 622–9250.
Makiko Ichiura teaches a workshop on “Tile Painting” as one of the summer classes offered by the Northwest Museum of Art in La Connor. August 15th from 1 – 4pm. $75 fee with materials included. 121 South First in La Connor,WA. (360) 466-4446, then press “1” when instructed to.
Xu Bing and Maya Lin are a few of the artists who have been awarded with the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts that recognizes their commitment to the State Department’s cultural diplomacy outreach through the arts, specially their work with the Art in Embassies program.
Wu Tsang was one forty-six artists who received a 2015 grant from Creative Capital in the Visual Arts category. Artists received up to $50,000 each.
NNWFF also seeks excellent new Northwest films for their Local Sightings Film Festival which screens Sept. 24th – Oct. 3rd this year. Deadline for submissions is June 15th, 2015. Go to localsightings.org for details.
Friends of Asian Art Association is an all-volunteer organization that connects its members and the community to educations, cultural and social events tied to Asia and its diverse art forms and culture. Enjoy year-round activities and meet new friends who share similar interests by becoming a member. All are welcome to the activities but members get special discounts and perks. Go to FriendsOfAsianArt@earthlink or call (206) 522-5438. An exciting upcoming activity planned by the organization is a visit to Kagedo Japanese Art’s new gallery-residence set amidst Japanese-inspired Northwest gardens on the South Shore of Orcas Island. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the galleries and attend an informal discussion of Nihonga paintings, modernist bronzes, basketry and lacquers on view. In addition, co-owner Jeff Cline will discuss opportunities for collecting Japanese art. Set for Thursday, May 28th from 1 – 4pm. Participation is limited and advance registration a must. $40 discounted rate for members and $50 for non-members. For members credit card registration, go to http://bit.ly/1DSNfwa, for non-members credit card registration, http://bit.ly/1wmn4FR. Or you can also send your name and contact information with a check made out to Friends of Asian Art Association to: Friends of Asian Art Association, PO Box 15404, Seattle, WA 98115. On Sunday, June 7th from 1 – 4pm, the association has another exciting event planned. Do you recall the excitement you had doing coded messages as a child? Have you been puzzled yet intrigued by Asian calligraphy but felt it was too difficult to decipher? The “Square Calligraphy Workshop” will let you write all of your Arabic letters in Asian style strokes. Join us in this voyage of discovery as you learn about the world of Asian calligraphy. Limited to 20 people ages 10 or above. Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Alvord Board Room. (206) 522-5438 or email Friends [email protected] to make reservations and buy tickets.
Hing Hay Coworks is a collaborative work space centrally located in the Bush Hotel in the heart of Seattle’s ID/Chinatown neighborhood. It is open to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and start-ups or small businesses and is animated by a community of business leaders who value meaningful partnership, creative exploration, and bringing ideas to market. The space will be open for monthly memberships in April. Space is limited, so please contact them if you want to become a member. Please refer all inquires to Quang Nguyen, Hing Hay Coworks Manager at [email protected].
The annual Enumclaw Studio Tour will be held on June 13th, 2015. Local artists who would like to participate in the event are invited to submit a request for an application to Gary La Turner at [email protected]. Applications are due May 16th, 2015. If you have questions, you may call (360) 802-0239.
Congratulations to Professor Wayne Au, a recipient of UW Bothell’s 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award. What’s even more extraordinary is that he was nominated for this award by all fellow faculty and undergraduate students. He is currently associate professor in the School of Educational Studies. He is the author of “Unequal by Design: High Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality”, co-writer with Bill Bigelow of “Rethinking Our Classrooms Volume 1” and editor of “Rethinking Multicultural Education: Teaching for Racial and Cultural Justice”.
“Applications are now being accepted for Washington State Poet Laureate 2016-2018. Deadline is July 31st, 2015. The role of this position is to promote awareness and appreciation of poetry through readings, workshops, lectures and/or presentations in various parts of the community throughout the state. This is a paid position. For details go to [email protected] or call (206) 682-1770×110.
There are still some out there who fear the change that art can bring to people’s lives. Sabeen Mahmud was founder and director of PeaceNiche and a member of the Asian Society’s 21 Young Leaders Network. She was murdered by unknown assailants on her way home in Karachi, Pakistan. Her non-profit organization was set up to promote democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement.” Her space called The Second Floor was a “café, book shop, art gallery and performance space” that hosted hundreds of events since it founding in 2007. Our hearts go out to her friends and family and those who continue this struggle.