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  • Dhiradj Ramsamoedj | Cultural Encounters

    Dhiradj Ramsamoedj (Suriname, b. 1986) Dhiradj Ramsamoedj was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, to a family of Indian descent. In 2004, he graduated from the Nola Hatterman Art Academy in Paramaribo, and went on to study at the Workshop of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands (2007-2008). He is currently studying at the Institute for Educational Training, Paramaribo. ​ Ramsamoedj is in love with the creative process of making art: “When I’m working on my art, I am completely in charge of what I create from beginning till end. I am totally in control, and that gives me a very gratifying sense of power.” His paintings, sculptures, and installations are inspired by everyday people and everyday issues. His works employ a wide variety of media and materials, including textiles—an important part of his identity, as he grew up in a family of tailors—as well as tin cups, wooden sticks, and plastic bottles. ​ In 2010, Ramsamoedj created the wall installation Adjie Gilas in honor of his paternal grandmother. This installation was part of the group exhibition Paramaribo SPAN (2010) and was set up at his grandmother’s house. The main elements of the installation are dozens of aluminum cups identical to those used by his grandmother and her house guests for coffee. Ramsamoedj stamped and careen-printed a portrait of his adjie ("grandmother") on each cup, inscribing the backs with her initial ("R"). Building on the framework of wooden slats that his adjie had long used to hang objects on her walls, Ramsamoedj created a remarkable geometric grid of squares and rectangles as a setting for the cups—a pattern designed, he says, after the floor plan of her house. The installation incorporates images of Lord Ganesha and Lord Krishna that were originally part of the house’s décor, which the artist uses to highlight his grandmother’s heritage and cultural identity. For the exhibition, this elaborate piece has been recreated in the museum. Ramsamoedj has exhibited several times at Readytex Gallery in Paramaribo, and has participated in projects such as Paramaribo SPAN (2010) and Alice Yard (2013). In 2011, he exhibited at the AMA | Art Museum of the Americas as part of the exhibition Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions . back to collection

  • Laura Fong Prosper | Cultural Encounters

    Laura Fong Prosper (Panama, b. 1978) Laura Fong Prosper was born in Panama in 1978 to a family of Chinese descent; her paternal grandfather came to the country from Guangdong, China, in 1929 at the age of 12. Fong Prosper trained as a video artist at the International School of Film and TV of San Antonio de los Baños in Cuba (EICTV), and holds an MFA in media art from Bauhaus University Weimar in Germany. She has also taken part in exchange programs with the Kunsthochschule für Medien (KHM) in Cologne, Germany, and with the Tongji University in Shanghai, China. She currently lives in Germany. Fong Prosper has long been intrigued by the history and traditions of her family. As her father explains, “Since very early on she has been interested in her grandfather’s journey from China to Panama.” In this respect, her work can be regarded as autobiographical, dealing with issues of memory and ancestry. Following her grandfather’s death, she relocated to China for more than a year, during which time she sought out her grandfather’s home and relatives in Guangdong; this experience has imbued her work with a new dimension, allowing her to use her camera and creative eye to trace her grandfather’s interoceanic journey. Other hallmarks of Fong Prosper's work include such Chinese family traditions as the rituals of the dinner table. In her work Lazy Susan (2012), she juxtaposes a video of her family in Panama dining around the titular rotating tray with a video of her family in China eating in the exact same manner. Both videos were filmed after her grandfather’s death, and both were executed by placing the camera on top of the “lazy Susan.” Her video installations and documentaries typically incorporate both archival footage and her own photography, blending digital and analog technologies. Her work has been exhibited in China, Panama, Germany, Costa Rica, the United States, and Brazil, and she is a proud participant in the #PANACHINA group exhibition. back to collection

  • Andrea Saito | Cultural Encounters

    Andrea Saito (Peru, b. 1993) Andrea Saito was born in Lima to parents of Japanese descent. In 2016, she completed her education at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú as a visual artist with an emphasis on printmaking. In 2015, she studied Japanese woodblock printmaking at the University of the Arts in London, and had a residency at the London Print Studio. Saito is presently working on her master’s degree in cultural management at the Universidad International de Barcelona in Spain. ​ As a young printmaker of unusual versatility, Saito has experimented with a wide variety of printing methods, such as giclée, monotype, intaglio, digital collage, and Japanese woodcut. Two of her best-known series are Planeta (2017) and the installation Autorretrato (2014); for the latter, Saito expressed through a series of symbolic intaglios what she is and where she came from. Her work has been shown extensively in Peru, and in 2018 she exhibited in Barcelona for the first time. back to collection

  • Videos | Cultural Encounters

    videos Yutaka Toyota Manabu Mabe Laura fong prosper

  • Margaret Chen | Cultural Encounters

    Margaret Chen (Jamaica, b. 1951) ​ Born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, into an ethnically Chinese family, Chen excelled at her studies at the Jamaica School of Art, then relocated to Canada to pursue her postgraduate education at York University, Ontario. There she began to experiment with the large-format mixed-media sculptures and installations that have become her specialty. Chen works with a wide variety of materials, wood being the most dominant. As was customary among Chinese families in Jamaica, Chen was raised in the family business—in her case, furniture making—which provided her with a specialist’s background in the manipulation of wood for carving and sculpture. In her 1980s work, especially the Steppe series (1982 -1989), Chen reflects on her Chinese ancestors, using the Asian steppes as a symbol of their journey. This mixed-media piece uses paper over wood, incorporating elements of Chinese watercolor and traditional Jamaican motifs. This particular work also uses wooden panels in a manner similar to that of traditional Chinese screens of the fourth and fifth centuries BC—before they became folding screens, Chinese screens were made from a single wooden panel, giving them a heavy, monumental presence that can be seen in Chen’s prodigious modern works. Using the language of modern art, these works by Margaret Chen show the duality of her cultural roots. As she describes it, “the whole process became not only an exploration of the passage of time but of my roots—an imaginary, subterranean journey beneath the steppes of Asia—of life that was no more and of what remains, accumulating, layer upon layer, vague shadows, nebulous shapes.” ​ Chen's work is characterized by her large-format sculptures, installations, and objects that combine wood with mixed materials such as X-ray weaving, bones, canvas, and acrylic. Her production process is ongoing and meditative. Among her exhibitions are About Change (2011), organized by the World Bank and the IDB Gallery in Washington, DC; and her solo show Ovoid (2003), at the Mutual Gallery in Kingston, Jamaica. She currently divides her time between Jamaica and Canada. back to collection

  • Sunil Puljhun | Cultural Encounters

    Sunil Puljhun (Suriname, b. 1978) Sunil Puljhun was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, to a family of Hindustani descent, and studied at Paramaribo’s Nola Hatterman Art Academy from 1995 to 2000. His early work focused primarily on beauty as a subject, but shifted over time to thornier issues of slavery, oppression, war, and hunger. As his work evolved, his canvases grew darker, marshaling a palette of black, grays, and white with red accents, to make his messages more direct. He also experimented with collage, as in Untitled (2011), which addresses issues of race, perhaps drawn from his own experiences as an Indo-Surinamese. ​ Nevertheless, for a short time (2013–2015), Puljhun boldly abandoned his heavier subjects in favor of a colorful evocation of his Hindustani heritage. His celebration of his Indian culture took the form of a series of watercolors depicting traditional Indian dances such as the classical Kathak dance. Following his work on this series, Puljhun returned to his darker subject matter. ​ Puljhun has exhibited in Suriname at the Readytex Art Gallery and at the Paramaribo Span (2010). In 2014, he was selected as artist-in-residence at the Glo’Art institute in Lanaken, Belgium. He has served as head of the Nola Hatterman Art Academy since 2016. back to collection

  • Kiyoto Ota | Cultural Encounters

    Kiyoto Ota (Japan, b. 1948) Kiyoto Ota was born in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. He began his artistic studies in Tokyo at the age of nineteen, moving to Mexico in 1972 at the age of twenty-three to study at the Escuela de Nacional de Pintura y Escultura (La Esmeralda), followed by studies at the Centro de Investigación y Experimentación Plastica in 1977; both institutions are part of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA). Ota obtained his master’s degree in sculpture at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas at UNAM in 1999. ​ Ota has lived in Mexico for more than 40 years; nevertheless, he still considers himself a Japanese artist, and his sculptures and large-scale installations embody the essence of his Japanese heritage. The artist explains that he is not consciously thinking about his heritage while working, but that these elements simply appear. He believes that perhaps his “intuition is Japanese.” ​ In his compositions, Ota favors materials such as stone, paper, iron, and wood. Always minimalist, his pieces are charged with personal meaning, often alluding to private experiences and reflections. His wooden work addresses the relationship between space-and-place and space-and-privacy; some of these structures recreate the shape of the uterus, while others are houses that allow the viewer to experiment with sensorial experiences. His iron work is created conceptually, using metal as a catalyst of energy. ​ Ota moved to Mexico in search of a new experience—an exchange of ideas different from that available to friends of his who traveled to Paris or New York for inspiration. Mexico has given the artist the freedom to follow his own, dynamically innovative path. ​ Ota has exhibited extensively around the world. Notably, he contributed work to the extraordinary group exhibition Crystal Jungle (2011) at the Museo Universitario de Chopo, which included a diverse group of Japanese artists living in Mexico, as well as Mexican artists descended from Japanese families. He also participated in Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA exhibition,Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of the Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City and São Paulo in 2017. back to collection

  • Artists | Cultural Encounters

    ARTISTS M.P. Alladin Reinier Asmoredjo Kereina Chang Fatt Margaret Chen Albert Chong Manuel Choy Loo Laura Fong Prosper Tikashi Fukushima Richard Fung Hisae Ikenaga Soeki Irodikromo Sri Irodikromo Arturo Kubotta Wifredo Lam Manabu Mabe Suchitra Mattai Cisco Merel Choy Rosendo Merel Choy Wendy Nanan Luis Nishizawa Tomie Ohtake Hiroyuki Okumura Kiyoto Ota Bernadette Persaud Sunil Puljhun Sonnylal Rambissoon Dhiradj Ramsamoedj Samuel Rumaldo Choy Carlos Runcie Tanaka Andrea Saito Kazuya Sakai Venancio Shinki Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi Eduardo Tokeshi Rene Tosari Yutaka Toyota Kazuo Wakabayashi Katarina Wong

  • Venancio Shinki | Cultural Encounters

    Venancio Shinki (Peru, B. 1932 – D. 2016) Venancio Shinki was born in Supe, north of Lima, to Kizuke Shinki, a farmer and merchant who had emigrated from Japan, and Filomena Huamra, an indigenous Peruvian. The Peru of Shinki’s youth was marked by social unrest and anti-immigrant upheaval; at one point, his Japanese hacienda school was shuttered, and his father had to go into hiding for a time. From 1954 to 1962, Shinki attended the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, where his instruction was deeply influenced by European Informalism and American Expressionism. Shinki’s work evolved during the 1960s from informal abstraction to representation, as he gradually introduced more formal elements. During this time, he moved from the creation of spaces that play with the horizontal line—filled with what appear to be fragments of Peruvian Pre-Columbian huacas ("sacred monuments")—to bigger, dreamlike scenographies integrating earth tones and marble-like sculptures; and (most recently) a series of prints illustrating Japanese haikus. In an interview, Shinki’s widow offers insight into his work, describing how it went back and forth thematically with respect to his Japanese heritage. Significantly, it was not until 1999 that Shinki paid his first visit to Japan, where he was able finally to meet the family his father had left behind. Nevertheless, his lifelong body of work reveals a harmonious balance between Peruvian Pre-Columbian motifs and colors and Japanese elements—such as his manipulation of the horizon line, and his stylized use of Gutai elements in his informalism. In 1963, Shinki exhibited at the São Paulo Biennial and was introduced to José Gómez Sicre, founder of the Art Museum of the Americas. Impressed with Shinki’s innovative work, Sicre granted him his first-ever solo exhibition, which was held at the Organization of American States in 1968. back to collection

  • Tikashi Fukushima | Cultural Encounters

    Tikashi Fukushima (Japan, b. 1920 – Brazil, d. 2001) Tikashi Fukushima was born in Sōma, a city in the Fukushima Prefecture. In 1940, following Japan’s entry into World War II, he migrated at the age of twenty to Brazil, where he studied painting with the Japanese teacher Tadashi Kaminagai in Rio de Janeiro, later settling in São Paulo. In the 1950s, Fukushima abandoned his early figurative style, which included landscapes, still lifes, and portraits, and joined the ranks of other influential Japanese-Brazilian artists in the collective Seibi-Kai (Grupo de Artistas Plasticos de São Paulo), where he practiced his own informalist style. Fukushima began his artistic career at about the same time as Manabu Mabe, who was also a Japanese-Brazilian informalist; interestingly, both artists worked on coffee plantations in their youth. Fukushima’s mature work is characterized by energetic brushwork, variegated textures, and shifting color tones. Many of these works contain overlapping planes and gestural strokes that appear to float in a limitless, colored space; others evoke the wind, sea, and land. During the 1970s and 1980s, when his formalism was reaching its peak, Fukushima began to merge elements of the East and the West in his art, infusing his work with the colors of Brazil’s tropical landscape, along with the economy and fluidity of line of Zen Buddhist painting. He exhibited widely in Brazil and the United States throughout his career, and participated in two group exhibitions (1961, 1965) and one solo exhibition (1972) at the Organization of American States. Fukushima of Brazil. OAS exhibition brochure, 1972 Archives of the OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Fukushima of Brazil. OAS exhibition brochure, 1972 Archives of the OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas 1/2 back to collection

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