Elysha Rei​

Elysha Rei (b. 1986 Saudi Arabia) is a Japanese-Australian visual artist whose work draws on her mixed heritage and lived experiences between cultures and communities. Works in paper cutting, public art, and murals are created from personal and historical archives which embed narrative and symbolism within a Japanese design aesthetic. As a grandchild of a Japanese war bride, Rei’s affinity to Japanese culture stems from the need to preserve her maternal heritage and connect with her samurai and tea master ancestry. Drawn to Japanese design principles and elements in nature, Rei’s works feature strong patterns and motifs that stem from research into records, scientific research, and commemorating points in history.

With a desire to continually challenge her practice, artist residencies and personal travel inform an important element to her continued creative development. Since completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2008, Rei has created and exhibited work, curated exhibitions, and managed cultural spaces across Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Netherlands, Thailand, and the US. 

Updated September 2021

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Nikkei Chronicles #10—Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities

In Conversation with Japanese-Australian artist Elysha Rei

Brisbane-based artist Elysha Rei’s bold paintings and intricate paper cuttings draw upon her Japanese heritage. Her grandmother Akiko was raised in Osaka until her father died when she was 12, as well as Tokyo and Manchuria. She was working as a typist just after the war when she met Glen an Australian soldier stationed in Iwakuni as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces. The two fell in love and married in 1948. They had their first daughter in Japan – Elysha’s aunt, Patricia. Glen wished to leave the army and move to Australia with his new family, but this w...

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