Canadian Nikkei Artist

Canadian Nikkei Artist series will focus on those in the Japanese Canadian community who are actively involved in the ongoing evolution: the artists, musicians, writers/poets and, broadly speaking, anybody else in the arts who grapples with their sense of identity. As such, the series will introduce Discover Nikkei readers to a wide range of ‘voices’, both established and emerging, that have something to say about their identity. This series aims to stir this cultural pot of Nikkeiness and, ultimately, build meaningful connections with Nikkei everywhere.

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Miya Turnbull: The Face Behind the Mask - Part 2

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If you were to design a mask for yourself for these times, what might it look like?

My favourite recent mask that has come out of the pandemic is a “Woven” mask. I cut up two self-portrait masks and wove the pieces together. Because they don’t fit exactly together, there are pieces of extra eyes and lips which gives a “glitchy” look to it. The interlaced pieces can be seen in terms of mixed race identity or different aspects of our persona woven together. The best part about this mask is that it falls apart when ...

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Miya Turnbull: The Face Behind the Mask - Part 1

“The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal.”

—Teacher, translator and author, from The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)  

By now, we all understand what it is to be the face behind the mask, don’t we?

Reflecting on this and on doing some research about masks, one other quote really stood out for me. It is from Quebec writer ...

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Norman Takeuchi: Portrait of an Artist as a Japanese Canadian

“Over the years, my paintings have explored my Japanese Canadian identity. While earlier works reflected feelings of ambivalence and discomfort with my ethnicity, passing time has slowly shaped my feelings into those of acceptance and a certain amount of pride.… The works in Equal Time, produced between 2018 and 2020, continue the exploration of the Japanese Canadian.”

Norman Takeuchi, from the new exhibition catalogue (Studio Sixty Six Contemporary Art Gallery)

On November 23, Nisei Norman Takeuchi launched an exhibition of Japanese Canadian World War Two internment themed art that was two years in the making.

The important new work of ...

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On Being Yukiko: New Kids Book Explores Japanese Canadian Identity - Part 2

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Lillian, who is Yukiko? In a nutshell, what is the story of Yukiko?

Lillian: Jeff and I talked a lot about Emma’s Japanese middle name. We decided on Yukiko, Jeff’s young daughter’s name. In the years to come, I think his little girl will be extremely proud of what her father had accomplished in naming the heroine after her.

From your personal experience, how well is the JC story known today in BC? In Ontario?

Lillian: The Japanese Canadian story was relatively unknown in Ontario. The ROM exhibition On Being Japanese Canadian: reflections on ...

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On Being Yukiko: New Kids Book Explores Japanese Canadian Identity - Part 1

In many ways, On Being Yukiko, a new graphic novel by Lillian Michiko Blakey (Newmarket, Ontario) and Jeff Chiba Stearns (Vancouver, BC) is a book for these Covid-19 times.

As so many of us are trying to define and redefine ourselves, there is a scramble for meaning of any sort during these times. In a time of Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, 18 Million Rising, the spectre of Donald Trump, there is a clear clarion call challenging people to take a stand, to define themselves as individuals and communities.

On a grassroots level, Sansei artist and retired teacher, Blakey, who participated ...

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