Born 1980 in Mexico City, Mexico; lives and works in Mexico City

Taro Zorrilla has degrees in architecture from Waseda University in Japan and Autonomous University of Mexico. He was included in the Mexican Pavilion of the first Lisbon Architecture Triennial in 2007, and he designed the cultural center of the Japanese Embassy in Mexico in 2010. In 2011, he received a grant from the Pola Art Foundation. Recently, he has shown work at the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico (2014) and at the Taro Okamoto Museum in Japan (2015). Zorrilla’s work explores community behavior and conscience; gathering together the values, knowledge, and dreams of the members of a group, his work recreates or reflects the community ideal. He has focused on multicultural and multinational communities, particularly in relation to human migration habits.


My mother is the one who came to Mexico. She came here by herself from Japan and immigrated to Mexico. However, because of circumstances in my family–the fact that my father died when I was very young–So basically, in our day-to-day lives us kids were by ourselves. But with an education that was very Japanese. After I finished the education phase, I have always felt Mexican-Japanese.

There are four parts to my work. The first is my artistic work which is basically video and media and also models or drawings. The second is architecture, and my architectural perspective has helped a lot in my artistic work as well. The other part is architecture which is in the service of the community or public. We see a particular space or social situation where we believe that architecture can contribute something. And the fourth is activities with a civil group that is called “Fundación Paisaje Social” where we have activities--mainly art workshops. So you can’t assume, “OK, I’m an architect so I do this or as an artist I do this.” The curiosities or concerns continue to emerge, when I’m thinking about how I can contribute to the current situation.

Depending on how people see me, they want to box me in as an architect or artist or Mexican-Japanese or Japanese-Mexican, but this depends on how others view me. But anyways…in artistic work, when you call them that, or architectural work--I’m constantly in a state of mutation or immigration. In this case, the work that I am showing is a community’s story of Mexican immigrants who go to the US and build their houses in Mexico. What always motivates me is when I encounter these “behaviors.” “Behaviors” are when a group of people that don’t know each other do the same thing or have the same gestures. In this case, the immigrants are constructing houses across Mexico. So my interest is in a kind of behavior that motivates people to carry out some action because of their feelings.

The part of how a community forms through that process is what really interests me. Especially, when people move and live somewhere else--the culture and customs that that person brings get mixed with the culture and customs of the new place where s/he has migrated--that’s this project’s main theme.

* * * * *

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. Taro Zorrilla 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 Sep 22 2018 10:06 p.m.

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