Luis Nishizawa 

(Mexico, B. 1918 – D. 2014) 

 

Luis Nishizawa was born on a hacienda in Cuautitlán, Mexico, to a Japanese father, Kenji Nishizawa, and a Mexican mother, María de Jesús Flores. He grew up in the countryside, working on a farm, which has deeply influenced his work. In 1942, he began his studies at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City, and in 1955 became a professor with the same institution, now known as the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Over this time, Nishizawa mastered an impressive range of mediums, including ceramics, stained glass, printmaking, drawing, painting, and sculpture. 

 

In Mexico, Nishizawa is known for infusing his work with an inimitable "mestizaje cultural" (cultural mixing) of his Japanese and Mexican upbringing. Much of his imagery can be traced to his childhood encounters with the landscapes of Mexico, as well as to Japanese visual sources such as traditional Zen Buddhist landscapes; and his work incorporates traditional influences from both countries, including Mexican muralism and Japanese printmaking and ink techniques. His murals can be seen in Tokyo’s subway system and in the Centro Médico Nacional in Mexico.  

 

Nishizawa exhibited at the gallery of the Organization of American States in 1961 as part of the exhibition Japanese Artists of the Americas. He has participated in Tokyo and São Paulo biennials and his work is a highlight of the permanent collections of the Shinano Art Museum in Negano, Japan; the Kyoto Art Museum; and the Museo Carrillo Gil in Mexico, among others. 

 

In 1992, the Museo Taller Luis Nishizawa was opened to the public in Toluca, Mexico. The Museo Taller not only demonstrates Nishizawa’s immense artistic production, showcased in seven galleries of its colonial building, but also serves as a reference center and preserves a school where the artist once taught.

Japanese Artists of the Americas. OAS exhibition pamphlet, 1961
Japanese Artists of the Americas. OAS exhibition pamphlet, 1961

Archives of the OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas

Japanese Artists of the Americas. OAS exhibition pamphlet, 1961
Japanese Artists of the Americas. OAS exhibition pamphlet, 1961

Archives of the OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas

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