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Being both Japanese and an immigrant in the United States, my personal experiences with both countries make me think deeply about my individual identity. Japan is a collectivistic society that puts the harmony of groups above the expression of individual opinions, and society tends to criticize people whose behavior departs from the norm. Meanwhile, in the United States, it is said that Americans focus on individualism. However, the U.S has been dealing with racism since its inception. I believe racism can only arise from a collectivist ideology: A man who gets his self-esteem from the pigmentation of his skin and judges others based on the same is a collectivist, not an individualist. I realize how difficult it is to express our own individual identities in a collectivistic society. As a result, I focus on individual uniqueness as an “otherness.” Through my art, I raise an awareness of the unique qualities of the individual. What I present to the viewer is an opportunity to both interpret and accept individual differences and the unique strengths and qualities this otherness can bring.
Throughout the creative process, I deconstruct, reconstruct, sew, stitch, dye and paint pieces repeatedly. These actions allow me to introduce a great deal of visual weight into an image, increasing both the texture and narrative. My process creates a temporal and visual history upon the face of the work. This makes possible new ways of communicating emotion to the individual viewer, ones which exist outside the visual surface.
Artist's comment on the first three images above: After missing Tokyo night scenes, I created these two works. Despite the crowds and energy of a big city, some people there struggle with a feeling of emptiness. Reflecting upon both the darkness and the light within urban communities, my interest lies in presenting an alternate reality.
Artist's comment on the image directly above: There are many different kinds of angels, with different functions. When angels exercise freewill, they are expelled from Heaven, and become fallen angels. This work depicts the “other” angels in “Heaven society."
Artist's comment on the images in the gallery grid above: These works are an exploration of the hidden aspects of self-identification, human struggle, and the expression of human instinctual behavior in daily life.
Artist's comment on the two images above: The juxtaposition between my use of the artificial and the natural environment at the Queens Botanical Garden highlights both differences and commonality. Thus, the work investigates the concept of “otherness” in relation to the garden setting.
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