Work by Yuko Shimizu, a Japanese illustrator based in New York City and instructor at the School of Visual Arts, depicts poet Mitsuye Yamada at Minidoka.
Japanese American Women Speak (JAWS), an international network of Nikkei feminist artists dedicated to social change, will debut its first public art exhibition and accompanying workshops, entitled “Seeds of Our Grandmothers’ Dreams,” from Oct. 14 to 28 at 341FSN, 341 E. First St. in Little Tokyo.
The exhibit features the work of creative artists who are re-imagining the world blossoming with the dreams Japanese American elders once had before they were forced into concentration camps and before their dreams were buried in the dirt behind barbed wire.
Featured artists include Mitsuko Brooks, Yuki Eto, Tani Ikeda, Kozy Kitchens, Sonomi Kobayashi, kyoko nakamaru, Yuko Shimizu, diana tsuchida, Hannah Watanabe-Rocco, Rosie Yasukoshi, and Sharon Yamato.
JAWS believes that through the creation of conscious community, personal and collaborative artistic expressions and creative interventions in the cultural narrative, community healing can take place. Using storytelling and visual arts as acts of resistance, JAWS hopes to educate and activate the public to dream a new society.
The opening reception will be held Sunday, Oct. 14, from 5 to 10 p.m., and the public is cordially invited to join in celebrating this inaugural series of events. On Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m., New York-based painter and printmaker Sonomi Kobayashi will lead a hands-on tutorial on painting with alcohol ink.
Noon workshops on Oct. 18 and 25 feature former redress activist Jim Matsuoka with kyoko nakamaru and diana tsuchida, in an intergenerational discussion regarding the lessons learned from camp. A special session with diana tsuchida with the oral history project Tessaku will be featured on Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Families/friends will be asked to help record stories told by Japanese American elders who are there to share histories that might otherwise be lost or forgotten.
Performing artist and poet traci kato-kiriyama will lead a session entitled “Letters to Our Future Grandmothers,” featuring stories about grandmothers with letters written to them and future grandchildren, on Oct. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. On the evening of Oct. 24, Kyoko Takenaka and kyoko nakamaru, using sound, music and meditation, will hold a full moon ceremony to honor ancestors.
Concurrent with the All-Camps Consortium being held at JANM on Oct. 20-21, a social gathering of members representing all camps will feature poetry, stories, and written words that provide reflections on both Japanese American history and hopes for future generations on Oct. 21 at 5 p.m.
An evening of short films, featuring work by Rene Tajima-Peña, Tani Ikeda, Hannah Watanabe-Rocco, Kyoko Takenaka, and Sharon Yamato, is scheduled for Oct. 26 from 7 to 9 p.m.
On Oct. 27, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Kelee Matsushida, assistant farm garden manager at UC Santa Cruz, will present her innovative work on using seed sovereignty as a platform for social justice and community building.