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UPDATED: New JANM Exhibition Explores Japanese Latino/Latin American Artists

Shizu Saldamando, “La Sandra,” 2014. Colored pencil and spray paint on paper. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

“Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo,” a new exhibition opening at the Japanese American National Museum on Sept. 17, will examine the experiences of artists of Japanese ancestry born, raised, or living in either Latin America or predominantly Latin American neighborhoods of Southern California.

The exhibition will show how ethnic communities, racial mixing, and the concepts of homeland and cosmopolitanism inform the creativity and aesthetics of this hybrid culture.

“Transpacific Borderlands” 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.

Admission to JANM on opening day of the exhibition will be free, thanks to Bank of America.

Erica Kaminishi, “Clouds 08” (from Clouds series), 2016. Mixed media. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Historical events have shaped the Japanese diaspora worldwide. Peru, the U.S., Mexico, and Brazil experienced the most significant numbers of Japanese immigrants, mostly as a result of the need for labor. Asian American studies and Latin American studies scholars have researched the historic immigrant experiences of the Japanese diaspora in the Americas, but few, if any, have examined the work of artists of Japanese ancestry in these regions and their contributions to this vast cultural landscape. “Transpacific Borderlands” will focus on the art and artists of these four critical regions. Each region will be represented by the work of three to four living contemporary artists, along with one historical artist.

Taro Zorrilla, “Dream House” (2010). Maquette. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Following is a list of the contemporary artists by the region they are most closely associated with:

Lima Artists: Patssy Higuchi, Sandra Nakamura, Eduardo Tokeshi

Los Angeles Artists: Ichiro Irie, Shizu Saldamando, Kenzi Shiokava, Shinpei Takeda

Mexico City Artists: Kiyoto Ota, Yuriko Rojas Moriyama, Taro Zorrilla

São Paulo Artists: Madalena Hashimoto, Erica Kaminishi, Oscar Oiwa

The artists were selected by curators in each region of focus. They are Jaime Higa (Lima), Kris Kuramitsu (Los Angeles), Miho Hagino (Mexico City), and Michiko Okano (São Paulo). Overall curation of the exhibition is by Clement Hanami, JANM’s vice president of operations and art director.

The methods of artmaking favored by the artists in “Transpacific Borderlands” are diverse, ranging from traditional to experimental, and the work itself illustrates perspectives of the Japanese Latin American experience directly, metaphorically, and/or abstractly. The exhibition offers a visual record of contemporary Japanese Latin American art and contributes to the understanding of identity in a world where the meaning of race and ethnicity is constantly evolving.

Ichiro Irie, “Impermanence I” (2017). Acrylic and permanent marker on canvas. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

“Transpacific Borderlands” will be on view through Feb. 25, 2018. It is accompanied by a catalog featuring full-color images and essays by the exhibition’s four curators along with writings by scholars of immigration and diversity from across the Americas. The catalog will be available at the museum in the JANM Store as well as online at

Major support for this exhibition and the accompanying publication is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. Generous support has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is from the Kosasa Foundation and the Pasadena Art Alliance.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo. Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. General admission beginning Sept. 19 is $12 adults, $6 students and seniors, free for members and children under 5. Admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from noon to 8 p.m. General admission prices and free admission times may not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Closed Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information, visit or call (213) 625-0414.

Kiyoto Ota, “El Nido” (2007). Redwood. (Photo by TALLA/Taller de Arte y Arquitectura, México-Japón)

Opening Day Schedule

11:10 a.m.–1:05 p.m.: Curator-Led Gallery Tours (limit 25 participants each; first come, first served.

  1. 11:10 a.m.–11:45 a.m.: Miho Hagino (Mexico)

  2. 11:50 a.m.–12:25 p.m.: Michiko Okano (Brazil)

  3. 12:30 p.m.–1:05 p.m.: Kris Kuramitsu (Los Angeles); Clement Hanami and Claudia Sobral (Peru)

1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.: Performance

  1. Multidisciplinary artist collective Ghost Magnet Roach Motel, whose members include exhibiting artist Shinpei Takeda, will present a “punkformance.”

3 p.m.–4:30 p.m.: Conversation with the Artists

  1. Featuring Madalena Hashimoto (Brazil), Ichiro Irie (Los Angeles), Erica Kaminishi (Brazil), Yuriko Rojas Moriyama (Mexico), Kiyoto Ota (Mexico), Shizu Saldamando (Los Angeles), Kenzi Shiokava (Los Angeles), Shinpei Takeda (Mexico), and Taro Zorrilla (Mexico). Moderated by exhibition curator Clement Hanami and project manager Claudia Sobral. Translations will be available in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese.

4:30 p.m.–5 p.m.: Catalog Signing

Mariscos Jalisco food truck will be on the JANM plaza at lunchtime.

Eduardo Tokeshi, “Bandera Uno,” 1985. Latex on canvas. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

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