Born 1956 in São Paulo, Brazil; lives and works in São Paulo.

Madalena Hashimoto holds a master’s degree in engraving from Washington University and a PhD in philosophy from University of São Paulo (USP). She currently teaches undergraduate and post-graduate programs at the USP Center for Japanese Studies, translates literary texts, and researches erotic woodblock printing (shunga) from the Edo period. Hashimoto’s work, which has been exhibited in Brazil and the United States, incorporates Japanese techniques and materials—such as woodblock printing and washi paper and ink—as well as Western influences, reflecting her hybrid Nipo-Brazilian identity.


I’m third generation Japanese Brazilian. I went to school. I loved studying. So first college I did was fine arts, but then two years later I entered Letters, and that’s where I am now. In one side I do my visual work as an artist and also I teach Japanese Literature, which I really thought was a wonderful. I don’t consider myself professional artist in this way that market is understood.

Last year I took part in a show here in São Paulo and I build a big wall and two sidewalls with what I have left of these thousand faces images. Looking at the show I was asked why some of the faces were like oriental or Japanese. Is it because I myself am from Japanese origin? So what can I answer? Yes, of course I am from Japanese descendants and I have in these thousand faces series, some of my family are represented and of course they have this Japanese faces. What I was thinking is, that we have so many people in the world, and they are so different. Each of them they have such a rich life so, what I wanted to do is to put them together with equal importance.

I would like to talk about these works whose title is “Public Life Private Life.” It begins as an idea of talking about memories: my memories or public memories, memories of people who were, at some time, my age. And growing up in Sao Paulo in Brazil in the sixties, with all the military activity, I was a little kid, but I felt the violence of the social movement. Of course as a kid you don’t understand very well, so the soldiers they don’t seem to be too aggressive, because it is seen through the eyes of a child. And I wanted to express all the important feelings of not being able to react. And I could go on with this work more years, thinking some more about the memories that were haunting my existence. A piece is not finished when it’s finished. It can go on forever like our memories.

* * * * *

Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo is on view at the Japanese American National Museum from September 17, 2017 - February 25, 2018. The exhibition examines the experiences of artists of Japanese ancestry born, raised, or living in either Latin America or predominantly Latin American neighborhoods of Southern California. Madalena Hashimoto is one of the artists featured in this exhibition.

For more information about the exhibition, visit

Japanese American National Museum
100 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

*The exhibition is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a Getty-led initiative exploring Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, and is made possible through grants from the Getty Foundation. The presenting sponsor of PST: LA/LA is Bank of America.

JANM — Last modified Dec 20 2019 12:57 p.m.

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