Laura Kina

Laura Kina is Vincent de Paul Professor of Art, Media, & Design at DePaul University, co-editor of War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art (University of Washington Press, 2013), co-founder of the biennial Critical Mixed Studies conference, and a reviews editor for the Asian Diasporic Visual Culture in the Americas. Her exhibition Sugar/Islands: Finding Okinawa in Hawaiʻi – the Art of Laura Kina and Emily Hanako Momohara was recently on view at the Japanese American National Museum with an exhibition catalog published by Bear River Press.

Kina has exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries and museums including the Chicago Cultural Center, India Habitat Centre, India International Centre, Nehuru Art Centre, Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum, Rose Art Museum, Spertus Museum, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. She is currently editing an anthology, Queering Contemporary Asian American Art, and illustrating a children’s book, Okinawan Princess: Da Legend of Hajichi Tattoos, written by Lee A. Tonouchi.

Updated September 2015

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Crónicas Nikkei #4 — La Familia Nikkei: Memorias, Tradiciones, y Valores

From Okinawa to Hawaii and Back Again

I am a Hapa, Yonsei Uchinanchu (a mixed-race, 4th-generation Okinawan-American) who was born in Riverside, California, in 1973 and raised in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. My mom’s roots stem from Spanish-Basque migrants in California and white southerners in Tennessee. My father is Okinawan from Hawaii. Because I don’t look quite white, people frequently ask, “What are you?” From an early age, even though Hawaii and Japan were enigmas to me, I have had to explain my relationship to these “exotic” places.

Growing up, we lived by my mother’s family and visited ...

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