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  • 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 (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.” 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 group exhibition. #PANACHINA back to collection

  • Rene Tosari | Cultural Encounters

    René Tosari (Suriname, b. 1948) René Tosari was born into a Javanese family on the Meezorg plantation in the District of Commewijne, on the south bank of the Suriname River, and was raised according to Javanese cultural traditions. Since then—like some other artists in this exhibition—he has largely divided his time between Suriname and the Netherlands. He began his art education in Suriname at the National Institute of Art and Culture (1967-1970), and later studied in Rotterdam at the Academy of Visual Arts (1970-1973) and at the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam (1980-1982). ​ In 1984, he cofounded the Waka Tjopu Collective, a group that helped elevate the visual arts into an important force in post-independence Suriname. In his own words, “art in Suriname must meet the needs, the desires of the masses to move forward as an independent nation.” The Javanese-Surinamese artist Soeki Irodikromo was also a member of the Collective, and spent time with Tosari in the Netherlands. This multidisciplinary group—a coalition of visual artists, photographers, graphic designers, and others—focused on Surinamese cultural diversity, promoting the art and its message rather than the artist. They played down the idea of the artist as an elite, emphasizing instead the more egalitarian concept of the artist as worker. ​ During the time of the Waka Tjopu Collective, Tosari imbued his work with a politically-charged syntax that addressed major issues of the day, such as decolonization, inequality, and diversity. His political art largely took the form of prints—a medium that has long been a powerful means of dissemination for artists and revolutionaries alike. Today, diversity continues to be a major theme of his work. ​ When the Collective began to slow its activities in 1990, Tosari returned to the Netherlands and began to focus on art education, shifting from printmaking to painting and drawing, and largely leaving behind his political work of the 1970s and ‘80s. During this phase, his work explored more personal concerns, such as diversity, plantation life, and the Amazon landscape. The latter, infused with vivid elements of his Javanese visual language, achieves a unique power in his canvases. ​ In 2014, Tosari—now in his sixties—returned to Suriname, where he lives and works today. He participated in the 18th São Paulo Biennial, and has frequently exhibited at the Readytex Art Gallery in Paramaribo. In 2018, the book introduced his eclectic work to new admirers around the world. René Tosari: Diversity is Power back to collection

  • Kazuya Sakai | Cultural Encounters

    Kazuya Sakai (Argentina, b. 1927 – United States, d. 2001) Born in Buenos Aires to Japanese parents, Kazuya Sakai spent the majority of his youth in Japan, studying literature and philosophy. Upon his return to Argentina in 1951, Sakai, a self-taught painter, dedicated himself to the visual arts, becoming a promoter of Japanese culture in his new surroundings. He later spent considerable periods of time in the United States and Mexico, where he acquired new influences and further developed his painting style. Throughout his life, Sakai continued to build his connection with Japanese culture, serving as a professor of Asian philosophy and translating works of Japanese literature and Zen Buddhist writing into Spanish. Sakai saw in his artwork—as in himself—a unification of Eastern and Western elements. His first works were geometric in style, reflecting the pivotal influence of Argentina’s Concrete Art Movement. With time, Sakai began to incorporate elements of Zen philosophy and Japanese calligraphic line into his art. Works of this period show techniques of abstract expressionism and informalism, as well as a marked diversity of materials and an energetic approach to the canvas, both hallmarks of the Japanese Gutai Group. In 1961, Sakai showed his work at the Organization of American States in the exhibition . Japanese Artists of the Americas Sakai's later work revisited geometry, this time by assimilating controlled curved lines and circles inspired by experimental music and jazz. This musical geometry uses formal elements of the Japanese Rinpa School, such as bright colors, simplicity of form, and compositional asymmetry, the vivid use of which reflects Sakai’s close study of the work of Ogata Kōrin, a noted Rinpa artist. Japanese Artists of the Americas. OAS exhibition pamphlet, 1961 Archives of the OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas 1/4 back to collection

  • Yutaka Toyota | Cultural Encounters

    Yutaka Toyota (Japan, b. 1931) Born in the northern Japanese city of Tendō, Yamagata Prefecture, Yutaka Toyota graduated in 1954 from Tokyo University of Arts, where he studied landscape painting. While in school, Toyota witnessed the devastation of World War II, which had a profound effect on him. After a few years of working at the Institute of Small Industries in Shizuoka, he moved to Brazil in search of new possibilities, which led him to open a furniture atelier in the Liberdade neighborhood of São Paulo. In the first half of the 1960s, he began to paint landscapes once again, but soon moved on to informal abstract painting, much of it expressing cosmological themes. His informalist work integrated the symbol ensō (Japanese for “circle”) as part of its cosmological vision—presaging the prominent role geometry would play in his later work. During this period, his work maintained a singular balance between the Zen Buddhist philosophy of his upbringing and more Western influences, such as the informal abstract art trends of Europe and the United States. During a 1960 trip to Argentina, Toyota began an artistic quest that would dramatically change his work, eventually spurring a voyage to Italy in 1965 to study the work of the Argentine artist Lucio Fontana, whose art incorporates elements of space theory. It was during this time that Toyota began to develop his abstract geometric style, which focuses on a visionary search for a new dimension and cosmic space. Triangle, circle, and square are the building blocks of Toyota’s abstract vision of the cosmic world. Using concave and convex mirrors as symbols of an invisible space, he creates kinetic pieces that invite the viewer to seek a new dimension. To develop his work, Toyota looked closely at the oeuvre of other Latin American artists, such as Julio LePark and Jesús Rafel Soto, who produce striking, innovative works in the realms of kinetic and participatory art. Today, Toyota is world-famous for his monumental public sculptures, such as (1979) in Toyotomi Park, Hokkaido, Japan. Cosmic Space Like many of his Japanese-Brazilian contemporaries, Toyota joined the Japanese-Brazilian artists’ group Seibi-Kai (Grupo de Artistas Plásticos de São Paulo). It was through his involvement with Seibi-Kai that he was invited to exhibit at the Organization of American States in 1972. Toyota of Brazil. OAS exhibition brochure, 1972 Archives of the OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas 1/2 back to collection

  • Bibliography | Cultural Encounters

    Bibliography 4a. Grande Expoosiçião de Arte Bunkyo 2010. Brasil: ImpresaOficial / Sociedad Brasilera de Cultura Japones e de Asistencia Social, 2010. Alonso, Rodrigo. Kazuya Sakai, La Pintura Desde El Espíritu de La Música. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Buenos Aires, 2013. Anderson, Emily. Transpacific Borderlands. The Art Od Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Sāo Paulo. Los Angeles, California: Japanese American National Museum Los Angeles, California, 2017. Bernal, María Clara. “Latin America beyond Lo Real Maravilloso : Lam, Surrealism and the Créolité Movement.” Ph.D., University of Essex, 2004. Bryan, Patrick. “The Settlement of the Chinese in Jamaica: 1854-c.1970.” Caribbean Quarterly 50, no. 2 (2004): 15–25. Carvalho, Ana Cristina, and Denise Mattar. A.arte Dos Quimonos E as Gravuras Japonesas de Acervo Artístico Dos Palácios. Brasil: Museo Histórico da imigração Japonesa do Brasil, 2013. Castillo Vázquez-Vela, Alejandro. Hiroyuki Okumura, Memoria Y Sentido. San Luis Potosí, México: Museo Federico Silva Escultura Contemporanea 2016, 2016. Chang, Alexandra. Circles And Circuits Chinese Caribbean Art. Los Angeles, CA: Chinese American Museum, 2018. Chishuru Nakatani Sánchez, Emma. Estudio Preliminar Y Notas a: “Novela Escrita Por Carlos Nakatani. Historia de Su Propia Vida. México, 2002. Cho, Jane J. Asians in Latin America: A Partially Annotated Bibliography of Select Countries and People. Center for Latin American Studies, Stanford University, 2000. Chong Ruiz, Eustorgio. “Los Chinos En La Sociedad Panameña.” Panamá: Instituto Nacional de Cultura, 1993. “Circles and Circuits.” Duke University Press. Accessed April 18, 2018. www.dukeupress.edu/circles-and-circuits. Clunis, Srah Anita. New Possessions. USA: Museum of the Americas, 2006. Connell, Thomas. America’s Japanese Hostages: The World War II Plan for a Japanese Free Latin America. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. Contreras, Daniel, and Juan Peralta. Tokeshi. Lo Que Queda Del Día. Arequipa, Perú: Centro Cultural Peruano Norteamericano, 1989. Cuando Oriente llegó a América: contribuciones de inmigrantes chinos, japoneses y coreanos. IDB, 2004. D Fong, Li. Li D Fong Journey Recollections. Zurich: ArteMorfosis - Galeria de Arte Cubano, 2017. De Juan, Adelaida, Alejandro G. Alonso, and Miguel Barnet. Nube de Otoño, Flora Fong. MA&G. Cuba, 1997. Denaro, Dolores. Flora Fong ART: ELIXIR OF LIFE. Zurich: ArteMorfosis - Galeria de Arte Cubano. Zurich, 2015. “Disqus Comments.” Accessed October 10, 2018. “EnCountering Cultures » A Brief History of Chinese Migration to Jamaica.” Accessed April 16, 2018. https://blogs.ats.amherst.edu/blst-452-01-1314f-ymartin14/sample-page/. “Exponen Esculturas de Hiroyuki Okumura - Diario de Xalapa,” September 11, 2018. https://www.diariodexalapa.com.mx/cultura/exponen-esculturas-1969904.html. Fukushima, Takashi. Fukushima. Brazil: Takashi Fukushima, 2001. Gafoor, Ameena. The Arts Journal. Vol. Volume 8 Numbers 1 & 2. Guyana: The Arts Forum Inc., 2012. ———. The Arts Journal. Vol. Volume 10 Numbers 1 & 2. Guyana: The Arts Forum Inc., 2014. Gómez Sicre, José. Manabu Mabe of Brazil Oils. Washington D.C: Pan American Union. 1962. Gosine, Andil “After Indenture,” Small Axe, Issue 53, Duke (2017) pp. 63 -67. Handa, Tomoo. Memórias de Um Imigrante Japonês No Brasil. Vol. 3. TA Queiroz, 1980. Hazlewood, Carl. “Carifiesta XI: Bernadette Persaud.” Carifiesta IX, 2013. Herkenhoff, Paulo. Manabu Mabe (1924- 1997): anos 1950 – 1960. Rio de Janeiro: Pinakotheke, 2012. ———. Roteiros Entre O Brasil E O Japao. Instituto Tomie Ohtake, 2009. ———. Tomie Ohtake Gesto E Razao Geometrica. SP Brazil: Instituto Tomie Ohtake, 2014. Historia del inmigrante japonés en la Argentina. Federación de Asociaciones Nikkei en la Argentina, Comité de Investigación y Redacción de la Historia del Inmigrante Japonés en la Argentina, 2005. Historian, Gerard A. Besson-Caribbean. “The Caribbean History Archives: Chinese Immigration.” The Caribbean History Archives (blog), August 24, 2011. Hoefte, Rosemarijn. In Place of Slavery: A Social History of British Indian and Javanese Laborers in Suriname. University Press of Florida, 1998. Hofte, RMAL, L. Djasmadi, and Hariëtte Mingoen. “Migratie En Cultureel Erfgoed: Verhalen van Javanen in Suriname, Indonesie En Nederland,” 2010. Hopkinson, Natalie. A Mouth Is Always Muzzled. Six Dissidents, Five Continents, and the Art of Resistance. New York: The New Press, n.d. Hosein, Alim A. “As New and As Old”: And an Exhibition of Selected Works (1984-2014). Guyana: Castellani House. The National Gallery of Art, 2014. Hosokawa, Shuhei, Koichi Mori, and Karen Tei Yamashita. Searching for Home Abroad: Japanese Brazilians and Transnationalism. Duke University Press, 2003. Hu–Dehart, Evelyn. “The Chinese in Cuba,” in Lingchi-Wang and Gungwu Wand, Eds. The Chinese Diaspora: Selected Essays. 2 Vols. Vol. 2. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1998. Imigracao Japones - 100 Anos - Imagens Da Trajectoria Dos Imigrantes Japoneses No Brasil. Brasil: Sociedad Brasilera de Cultura Japonesa, 2007. Interiores, Kioto Ota. San Luis Potosí, México: Museo Federico Silva. Escultura Contemporánea, 2012. Iwasaki, Hitomi, and Herb Hoi Chun Tam. “Notes on Asian Invisibility in the Caribbean.” Caribbean: Art at the Crossroads of the World. New York: Museo del Barrio and Yale University Press, 2012. “Japanese Immigration to Mexico from the Mid-16th Century to the Late 20th Century and Mexico’s….” Accessed April 16, 2018. https://medium.com/@_KarenCamacho16/japanese-immigration-to-mexico-from-the-mid-16th-century-to-the-late-20th-century-and-mexicos-739033a981b4. Junqueira, Marci, and Victoria Arruda. Tomie Ohtake, Obras Publicas. Instituto Tomie Ohtake. Sao Paulo, Brazil: Instituto Tomie Ohtake, 2013. Kale, Madhavi. Fragments of Empire: Capital, Slavery and Indian Indentured Labor Migration in the British West Indies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998. Klintowitz, Jacob. Yutaka Toyota. Brasil: Museo de Escultura Brasilero, 2009. ———. Yutaka Toyota, a Leveza Da Materia. 8 vols. Sao Paulo: Instituto Olga Kos de Inclusao Cultural, 2012. Krishnadath, Ismene. Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi - De Kracht Van Vrouwen The Strength of Women. Paramaribo, Suriname: Publishing Services Suriname, 2008. Lai, Walton Look, and Tan, Chee Beng. “The Chinese in Latin America and the Caribbean.” In The Chinese in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1–4. Boston: Brill, 2010. Lama, Luis. Shinki XXII Bienal de Sao Paulo-Brasil, 1994. Lima, Perú: Venancio Shinki, 1994. ———. Venancio Shinki. Lima, Perú: Enlace Arte Contemporáneo, 1988. Leander, Birgitta. Europa, Asia y África en América Latina y el Caribe: migraciones “libres” en los siglos XIX y XX y sus efectos culturales. Unesco, 1989. Lesser, Jeff. A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy, 1960–1980. Duke University Press, 2007. Lewis, Vel A. A Challenging Endeavor. The Arts in Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad y Tobago: Inter-American Development Bank - IDB Cultural Center Art Gallery, 2002. López, Claudia, and Enock Sacramento. Yutaka Toyota Sim, Pode Tocar! Brasil: Espacio Cultural Correios, 2012. López, Kathleen. Chinese Cubans: A Transnational History. University of North Carolina Press, 2013. https://doi.org/10.5149/9781469607146_lpez. López, Kathleen. “Memories of a Future Home: Diasporic Citizenship of Chinese in Panama.” Journal of Chinese Overseas 3, no. 2 (2007): 272–274. López-Calvo, Ignacio. Peripheral Transmodernities: South-to-South Intercultural Dialogues between the Luso-Hispanic World and “the Orient.” Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012. Mabe, Manabu. Mabe. Raices Artes Graficas, 1986. Mabe, Manabu, and Norimichi Okai. Mabe, Chove No Cafezal. New Millenium, 1994. Mahabir, Noor Kumar. Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean. Serials Publications, 2009. Margulis, Mario, and Omar Martínez Legorreta. Europa, Asia Y África En América Latina Y El Caribe: Migraciones “libres” en Los Siglos XIX Y XX Y Sus Efectos Culturales. Siglo XXI, 1989. Mauricio, Jayme. Wakabayashi. Sao Pulo, Brazil: Cia. Melhoramientos de Sao Paulo, 1992. Miyada, Paulo. 100 101 Tomie Ohtake. Brasil: Instituto Tomie Ohtake, 2015. Mizrahi, Mayer. Wakabayashi Estações. Espaço Arte M. Mizrahi. Sāo Paulo, Brasil, 2015. Mohammed, Patricia “Beyond Geography or Closed-Circuit Ethnicities.” Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas. No. 5 (2019) 1-9 pp. 2-3. Montero, Hortensia. Flora Fong, Una Nueva Dimension. La Habana, Cuba: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2008. Morimoto, Amelia. “Japanese Immigrants in Peru.” Museum International 44, no. 1 (1992): 9–11. Motoyama, Shozo. “O Museu Histórico Da Imigração Japonesa No Brasil.” Comunicação & Educação 13, no. 3 (2008): 133–138. “mp_suriname2015.pdf.” Accessed April 24, 2018. http://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/mp_suriname2015.pdf. NouhChaia Sookdewsing, Monique. Readytex Art Gallery 2016. Paramaribo, Suriname: Readytex Art Gallery 2016, 2016. Okano, Michiko. Olhar in Comum: Japão Revisitado. 1a Edição. Curitiba - Paraná - Brasil, 2016. Okumura, Hiroyuki. Hiroyuki Okumura, Las Esculturas 1999-2013. Japan: Art Design Books, 2013. “Old and New Migrants from China to Suriname - Transnational Identities and Linkages, and Local Positioning.” Accessed April 24, 2018. https://www.nwo.nl/en/research-and-results/research-projects/i/37/20737.html. Onaha, Cecilia. “Historia de la migración japonesa en Argentina. Diasporización y transnacionalismo.” Revista de Historia 0, no. 12 (December 28, 2011): 82–96. Oxhorn, Philip. LARR Latin American Research Review. Vol. Volumen 51. 4 vols. 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Lima, Peru: Fundacion Augusto N. Wiese, 2009. 110. Villacorta, Jorge, and Roberto Astóniga. Carlos Runcie Tanaka. En Enlace Arte Contemporáneo. Lima, Perú: Enlace - arte contemporáneo, 2015. 111. Whittle, Janice, Monique Nouchala Sookdewsing, and Ismene Krishnadath. Short Stories. Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi. Paramaribo: Readytex Gallery Inc., 2012. ​ ​ ​ ​ Back to Top

  • Bernadette Persaud | Cultural Encounters

    Bernadette Persaud (Guyana, b. 1946) Bernadette Indira Persaud was born in Berbice, a region of Guyana. Her great-grandparents were laborers on a Guyanese sugar plantation who had originally emigrated from their native Bihar, India, out of fear that their baby could be a victim of female infanticide. Persaud’s work as an artist, writer, and teacher has been deeply affected by her personal circumstances: as a woman of Indian descent in Guyana, she has lived under both colonial and postcolonial governments. As Natalie Hopkinson explains, during the 1970s Persaud was among a very few women artists “of Indian descent, [who were] painting, teaching and raising small children.” Persaud furthered her education at the University of Guyana and at the Burrows School of Art in Georgetown. An active artist since the 1980s, she is the first woman to win the National Visual Competition and Exhibition (1985). Today, Persaud is considered one of the most influential female artists in Guyana, which is due not only to her artistic works but to her prolific writings as well. Persaud's paintings address such diverse themes as postcolonial political and ideological repression, Guyana’s complex cultural realities, and her own Indo-Guyanese heritage. Visually, her work is known for its vivid depictions of Guyanese rain forests, which incorporate elements of French Impressionism as well as Hindu and Islamic symbols and motifs. Some of her most influential works are her lotus paintings from the 1980s and 1990s—which use the lotus flower as a symbol of purity and renewal, as in Buddhist and Hindu traditions—and Gentlemen in the Gardens, a 1980s series depicting camouflaged soldiers in Guyana’s forests. Her more recent work deals mostly with postcolonial issues, such as the closing of the Wales Sugar Estate mill, which had been active since the seventeenth century and was a powerful symbol of colonialism. Persaud's work has been shown around the world, and in 2014 the National Gallery of Art in Guyana organized her retrospective , coinciding with Arrival Day, which commemorates the May 1835 arrival of the first indentured workers at British Guyana. As New and As Old back to collection

  • Manabu Mabe | Cultural Encounters

    Manabu Mabe (Japan, b. 1924 – Brazil, d. 1997) Manabu Mabe was born in Japan and immigrated to Brazil with his family in 1934 at the age of ten. Much of his youth was spent working on a coffee plantation, where—to his father’s disapproval—he spent much of his free time sketching and painting. In 1947, Mabe and other artists re-established the collective Seibi-Kai (Grupo de Artistas Plásticos de São Paulo), which not only helped to shape his career but also enabled his support of other Japanese artists in Brazil. Mabe began to receive recognition for his artwork in the early 1950s, and in 1957 sold his farm and moved to São Paulo, finally dedicating his life fully to art. In 1959, Mabe was awarded the title of Best National Painter at the São Paulo Biennial and went on to achieve international fame as one of the most eminent Brazilian artists. magazine declared 1959 “The Year of Manabu Mabe,” and in the early 1960s Mabe traveled throughout the United States and Europe to promote his work. Although his early work in the 1950s depicts figurative subjects, such as landscapes, he also experimented with geometry as a way to minimize the role of figures on the canvas, perhaps as a response to the emerging Brazilian Neo-Concrete Movement. Mabe’s mature style is characterized by bursts of color and line upon color-blocked, monochromatic backgrounds. His unique approach to informalism incorporates the graceful lines of his study of Japanese calligraphy while echoing the evocative strokes of Zen Buddhist painting. His mature work also employs elements reminiscent of the Japanese Gutai Group; however, some scholars argue that Mabe’s technique lacks the aggressiveness of the work of the Gutai artists, who lived through the ruinous aftermath of World War II. Time Beginning in the 1960s, Mabe formed a close relationship with the Organization of the American States, which led to four solo exhibitions of his work. Japanese Artists of the Americas. OAS exhibition pamphlet, 1961 Archives of the OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas 1/17 back to collection

  • Wendy Nanan | Cultural Encounters

    Wendy Nanan (Trinidad and Tobago, b. 1955) “She draws on her femininity as embodied experience, her ethnicity that has communicated her own cultural messages, her place and time of birth—Trinidad 1955—her artistic training and exposure to Trinidad and the United Kingdom, and a personalized spirituality that is assembled from multiple influences.” — Patricia Mohammed Wendy Nanan was born in Port of Spain to an Indian family. Though raised in a Presbyterian household, she was able to absorb Hindu culture and ritual through her extended family. Her artistic training took her to England—first to Manchester Polytechnic, then to Wolverhampton Polytechnic, where she earned her BFA in painting in 1979. Returning to Trinidad and Tobago in the 1980s, Nanan struggled to find her place as an Indian woman artist, at a time when Trinidadian women were expected to focus on motherhood rather than a professional career. ​ Upon completion of her BFA in painting, Nanan discovered an urge to construct with her hands and has worked in papier-mâché ever since, creating three-dimensional pieces into which she sometimes incorporates found or readymade objects. A frequent subject of her work is daily life in postcolonial Trinidad and Tobago, which—despite gaining its independence from the UK in 1962—still maintains a number of colonialist norms and traditions. Other subjects include the multicultural richness of Trinidad and Tobago, and her own femininity. ​ In her piece , Nanan assembled three papier-mâché blue Krishnas with wings, each carrying different objects. The work deals with the cross-pollination of cultures that is a daily phenomenon on the islands. For instance, the scholar Patricia Mohammed notes that in Hinduism, blue is the color of infinity—hence its use to represent Indian deities—but also that blue is traditionally used in Trinidad to depict darker-skinned South Asian Dravidian people. The wings of Nanan’s Krishnas, meanwhile, are borrowed from the angels of Christian tradition. The first of her Krishnas holds in one hand an enameled tin cup of tea, and in the other doubles (a Trinidadian street sandwich made of flat bread and curried garbanzos). The second Krishna holds a green map of Trinidad with red marks and the sign of om, and the third carries the islands’ national bird (the scarlet ibis) on one hand and a doll in the other. Baby Krishna Nanan is one of the most important living women artists in Trinidad and Tobago. She has exhibited throughout the world, despite living a largely private and isolated life. back to collection

  • Samuel Rumaldo Choy | Cultural Encounters

    Samuel Rumaldo Choy (Panama, b. 1990) ​ Rumaldo Choy was born in 1990 in Panama City, to a Chinese-Panamanian family. His grandfather arrived at the port of Colón in Panama from Guangdong (Canton) in the 1930s, eventually supporting himself as a cook—a vocation that has left a deep impression on the Choy family, whose family events still revolve around Chinese dining traditions. These customs also appear as a vivid motif in Rumaldo Choy’s artwork. ​ A multifaceted artist, Rumaldo Choy works in photography, painting, installation, and graphic design, with an interest in Panama’s popular culture. He studied at the Universidad de Arte Ganexa and the Universidad Santa María de la Antigua. Raised in an extended family of multiethnic artists, Rumaldo Choy took the curatorial lead in creating the project, inviting his cousins Manuel Choy, Cisco, and Rosendo Merel Choy—all part of this exhibition—in addition to some other young artists, to contribute work evocative of their experience as members of the panachina community in Panama. This project resulted in the groundbreaking exhibition at the Atelier Teatro Amador in 2014; two years later, was invited to participate as a collective at a group exhibition at the Museum de Arte Contemporáneo in Panama. Selected group members were then invited to join the 2017 exhibition at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. #PANACHINA #PANACHINA #PANACHINA Circles and Circuits: Chinese Caribbean Art ​ For the project, Rumaldo Choy has developed innovative work rooted in the traditions of Chinese food in Panama, exploring how this foreign cuisine and its customs have syncretized with local food traditions. A local maxim has it that “there is nothing more Panamanian than a Chinese breakfast.” In Pancho, the artist presents a typical Chinese “lazy Susan” that proffers both Chinese and Panamanian food, creating his own version of an authentic chino-panamanian meal. #PANACHINA back to collection

  • Hisae Ikenaga | Cultural Encounters

    Hisae Ikenaga (Mexico, b. 1977) Hisea Ikenaga was born in Mexico City to a Japanese father and a Mexican mother. Her father arrived in Mexico in the 1960s from the city of Hita-shi in the Ōita Prefecture, which he left at age 20 to see the world. Her mother, always mindful that her children be aware of their Japanese heritage, introduced Ikenaga and her siblings to the large Japanese colony in Mexico. ​ Ikenaga finished her bachelor’s degree at Mexico’s Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado (also known as La Esmeralda) in 2002, having studied also at the University of Art and Design of Kyoto in Japan in 2000 as part of a student exchange program. She holds a master’s degree in Theory and Practice in Contemporary Art from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2004). ​ Ikenaga's conceptual artwork uses aspects of performance, installation, sculpture, and photography to explore the tensions between the quotidian meanings of objects in everyday life and the absurdities and ambiguities that these meanings can hold. Her concepts are realized through the artful manipulation of everyday behaviors and objects such as furniture, rulers, golf balls, and phone books. ​ As part of her student exchange program in Japan, Ikenaga developed a project in which she selected everyday objects that were strikingly different from ones she had known in Mexico and reproduced them using different materials, creating new, transformed versions which she displayed in a gallery. This exercise allowed Ikenaga to contrast the primarily industrial nature of Japanese commodities with the more artisanal production of objects in Mexico. Personally, she does not prefer one over the other; as an artist obsessed with objects and their meanings, she has sought, through this contrast, to illustrate the balance she feels between the two cultures, especially regarding their influence on her artistic production. ​ Ikenaga divides her time between Madrid and France while exhibiting her work extensively around the world. She participated in the exhibition (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. Crystal Jungle back to collection