For my Father, new work at Building 640 in the SF Presidio

I guess it is common to see your own art differently after it is up on the gallery walls. Stepping back to take some photos, I suddenly realized that all three pieces in the Generation Nexus: Peace in the Post-war Era Exhibition, were about my father, Kazumi Shintani.

for my father

I should not have been surprised since the exhibition is about victims of the US government’s concentration and confinement policies. The show is curated by Betty Nobue Kano and Janeen Antoine, who brought together artists of Japanese American and Native American heritage – Muriel Antoine, Fredrick Cloyd, Lucien Kubo, Emmanuel Montoya, Ruth Okimoto, Judy Shintani, Anthony Sul, and Hulleah Tsinhinjinne.

The exhibition is in the new historical Building 640 in the Presidio in San Francisco. The building was a secret Military Intelligence Service Learning Center, where Japanese American Soldiers were trained as military linguists in 1941, for the coming war.

I describe my work in this blog but decided to not show all of them, to just give you just a taste of what is in the show.

Portal The photo of my father, Kazumi Shintani, was taken in a farm field near the Tule Lake Segregation Center in Northern California. He spent his teenage years imprisoned there. At the time of the photo we had just concluded attending the Tule Lake Pilgrimage. It was the first time I visited this historic place that is so important to my family history and that of many other Japanese Americans too. The Pilgrimage was a time of healing, reflection, story telling, and acknowledgement for us and the other 300 attendees. In the photo my father is looking at a dilapidated barrack that originally was a home for some internees at the camp. The barracks were later removed and sold to returning vets to use for homes and barns. The wood from this barrack was offered to internee families before it was to be burned. My father and I scavenged some material for my future art making. It was a way to take a piece of painful history and transform it.

shintanidadandbarrackphotosmall

Pledge Allegiance The Tule Lake barrack wood represented a time when my father was imprisoned during his teenage years. I held on to the wood for 3 years. After much pondering, sketching and soul-searching, I decided to create an American flag. The pledge of allegiance phrase “with liberty and justice for all” rang hallow during the 1940’s when the US government forced the unconstitutional imprisonment of 120,000 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry into ten concentration camps. Tule Lake camp became a segregation and high security camp for internees who were labeled disloyal.

Currently many Japanese Americans, as well as other Americans, are alarmed about the state of citizen freedoms and racial profiling that is happening in the United States. It is an important time to stand up for our rights and make sure that history does not repeat itself.

Ancestor Chimes My father’s family settled in America and raised oysters in the Puget Sound. In this piece I honor these family members, most of who have passed on. On the oyster shells you will find their stories. Some of the ink may fade over time just as memories do. The shells dangle and move and our legacy travels to reach ancestors via the wind and the sound of bells. I imagine they are pleased to be reminded of the beautiful place they once inhabited. Their livelihood and time in Washington was cut short when they were unjustly forced to move out of the area due to their ethnicity and the war. They spent 4 years in the Tule Lake Concentration Camp. 65+ years later my father recalls happy times of living on a houseboat in Washington and enjoys bringing his children to visit his childhood locale.

The exhibition opens November 17, 2013, 1-3pm with All Nations Singers, Medicine Warriors Dancers, and Genyukai Okinawan music and shiisa.

Other events include:

November 23, 1 – 4pm Artist Panel

December 22, 1 – 3:30pm Winter Solstice Celebration performance by Harupin-Ha, Butoh Dance

February 1, 2014, 12 – 2pm Children’s Craft Workshop with Judy Shintani and Anthony Sul

March 1, 2014, 1 – 3:30pm EO 9066 Event: Film on Black Japanese Life

April 27, 2014, 1 – 3:30pm Ohlone inthe Presidio: Closing Ceremony, Pomo/Ohlone Dancers, Shellmound Walk

For more information: www.njahs.org

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Creating kimonos by hand, day one

I’ve spent a couple of years deconstructing kimonos. I wondered what it would be like to make a kimono. I found the perfect class at the Workshop Residence in San Francisco. These photos are from the first day of the four day workshop.

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Tsuyo Onodera has devoted fifty years of her life to the art of kimono making in Japan, having trained hundreds of students to become licensed kimono makers during five year long apprenticeships at her school in Sendai, Japan. She serves as the president of Miyagi Kimono Association, and in 1982 invented Mai Yamato, a pre-tied kimono and obi system.

Collaborating in Onodera’s Workshop Residence project is her daughter, Sonoma based artist Maki Aizawa. Maki grew up in her mother’s kimono making school surrounded by creativity, studying floral arranging, calligraphy and studying the musical instrument the Koto.

The living and the dead join together

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An atmospheric space in-between worlds is glimpsed in this installation. Fragments of sound from crickets, voices of monks and Japanese instruments envelope Japanese lanterns, womanly silhouettes and floating deteriorating kimonos.  Obake Yashiki or Ghost House, is a dwelling place of spirits that continue to haunt us. They cannot find their peaceful resting place due to tragic occurrences during their lifetimes. The exhibition calls attention to women around the world whose lives have been taken due to earthly disasters and violent human interaction. We honor the spirits who are trapped between life and death in hopes they may find peace and resolution.

This was the statement for Obake Yashiki (Ghost House), A multi-media installation by Amar Chaudhary, Priscilla Otani, and Judy Shintani at Arc Gallery in San Francisco.

At our closing we were graced with the awesome Butoh dancers, Hiroko and koichi Tamano, who brought Butoh performance to the United States in the ’70s.  They performed with their student troupe Earth Child. Their amazing interpretation of our installation created a whole new way of experiencing the space. Time stood still as they took command of the gallery and we all watch, mesmerized.

I have to say it was a dream come true for me to see my kimonos dancing with the Butoh performers and to have the kimono flowers and leaves thrown in the air, releasing them from their altars. I had to smile when I saw people picking up the pieces as souvenirs.

Re-Claimed show at SOMArts, 5/6-28/10

I am so honored to be in the Re-Claimed show at SOMArts in San Francisco this month. It is part of the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center Festival. Here is some video of the reception 5/6/10.

Re-Claim presents the work of Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Kathy Fujii-Oka, Su-Chen Hung, Christina Mazza, Judy Shintani and Truong Tran in a critical investigation into the discarded objects of the everyday or what gets left behind and the redemptive process that renders an object “fundamentally new.” How does detritus reveal the imprint of its locality and the residue of human lives? This exhibition locates the self in poetic, imaginary as well as ecological modes and gives voice to moments personal and historical by re-framing the present. In a time of frugality and perceived scarcity- the impetus that nothing shall be discarded also includes stories, history, memory and ultimately, our deep interconnections. All of the artists are creating new pieces for the exhibit.

Korean tacos?

We went down to the San Francisco Ferry Building to check the gourmet food carts I keep hearing about on Twitter. I was on a mission to try out the Korean tacos.

They were terrifically yummy with Korean BBQ beef, rice, sesame seeds, green onions, sauce, and nori. They reminded me of spicy sushi hand rolls.

Ander went for the Roli Roti Chicken Truck and had the Roli Special ($6): Chicken, juicy and tender, and potatoes topped with rosemary salt. He liked it!

There were plenty of other choices to try next time. The trucks or carts move around the city. You can find out more about them at Yelp.

The Shape of Things: Paper Traditions and Transformations until 2/15/09

I really recommend going to see this show at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco. It closes on 2/15. If you are like me, I love seeing what artists can do with a simple piece of paper.

R. Lang
R. Lang
J. Chung
J. Chung
J. Linssen
J. Linssen

The Shape of Things: Paper Traditions and Transformations
November 14, 2008 – February 15, 2009

The exhibit explores the history of cut, folded, and molded paper, alongside contemporary artists who introduce fresh perspectives on those traditional forms. From the unique to ubiquitous, the exhibition examines paper traditions from Asia, specifically from China, Japan, the Philippines, and Korea, and includes papercuts, origami, katagami, paper lanterns, papier-mâché, and paper boxes. Juxtaposing the work with that of contemporary artists demonstrates how traditional arts, folk art, contemporary craft, and fine art are all part of the same continuum.

Check it out at: http://www.mocfa.org/exhibitions/index.htm

Film festival celebrates aging

aging

The International Film Festival on Aging is a celebration of the unique joys, challenges and opportunities of our later years, when our experience and wisdom are finally equal to our passion for life. Through artistic expression, we showcase the singular experience of becoming a true Elder. Presented by the Pacific Institute and the AgeSong Senior Communities, this film series illustrates the value of our Elders while challenging society’s archaic preconceptions about growing older. The International Film Festival on Aging will take place from February 20–22, 2009 at premiere film venues across the San Francisco Bay Area, including at the world–famous Castro Theatre. (February 20th at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco; and February 21st & 22nd at the AMC Theatres in San Francisco and Emeryville.) Films include international, independent and studio productions, from captivating animated shorts to touching and memorable feature length films and documentaries, all of which explore the complex issues of aging.

more details at: http://www.filmfestonaging.org/

Burmese Restaurant in SF

After teaching elder art in SF, I treat myself to lunch. I try and rotate around the City. A couple of weeks ago I went back to try a restaurant I used to go to years ago in the Richmond neighborhood.

pagan_burmese_menu_2

Pagan serves authentic Burmese and Thai cuisine. I remembered this exotic Tea Leaf Salad. I ordered that again and it was just as great as before. Lap Pat Thut is made of imported Burmese tea leaves, mixed nuts, fried garlic, sesame seed, peanuts, grounded shrimps and dressing. The ingredients come beautifully individually arranged on the plate and the server mixes it for you at the table. I love the way the different flavors intermingle and the crunchiness of the salad. They also serve a vegetarianism version of this dish.

The restaurant decor is very beautiful with elegant gold details and art. The employees wear the brocaded native clothing.

It is definitely worth checking out!

Pagan Restaurant
3199 Clement St (at 33rd Avenue)
San Francisco, CA 94121
425-751-2598
www.pagansf.com

Wed-Sun 11:30-3:30pm, 5:30 – 10pm
Closed Mon and Tues

Some SF restaurant finds

I have been going into San Francisco every Friday to teach my elder art class in the mornings. I treat myself to lunch after and have been going around the City exploring for tasty delights.

I like Rose’s Cafe in Cow Hollow http://www.rosescafesf.com/. They are simple, snappy, and good. I had a roasted beet, fennel, radicchio, and avocado salad and then a very yummy dessert which was a special – warm fig and raspberry flaky tart with a big scoop of caramel ice cream which melted lovingly with each bite. I had to take a bite before I photographed it! I looked on their website and they make all their own breads and pasteries, so no wonder it was so special.

tart

pieSpeaking of sweet things, another place you have to try is Mission Pie in the “Mission” duh. I first went there with Janet and Susan a few months ago. Ander and I went again and it had opened up a wall and moved it’s entrance to Mission Street at 25th Street. Both times I went it was scrumptious! Great crust and not too sweet filling. We had a good cup of coffee to go with it. lucas-pumpkin

This not your ordinary pie shop. It has ties on the Coastside:

Mission Pie is a business venture that collaborates with the non-profit Pie Ranch, a diversified small-scale educational farm one hour south of San Francisco. Through hands-on work and collective reflection at Pie Ranch, San Francisco teenagers discover new competencies and insights that benefit them as individuals and in community.

The idea of Mission Pie is rooted in a conversation with Mission High School youth during their first visit to Pie Ranch in 2005. They remarked that many people in San Francisco don’t have the means to visit Pie Ranch to experience the personal connection with the farmland that sustains us. Mission Pie is an attempt to bridge that gap. Mission Pie is a tangible connection to Pie Ranch; a place, like the ranch, where people can gather with a sense of community purpose and belonging. Since our opening on January 3, 2007, Mission Pie has provided jobs and training for the youth Pie Ranch works with at the farm.

They are taking orders for Thanksgiving pies:

Apple Pie
The classic double-crust pie made with an assortment of apples from NanaMae Orchards and other California growers.
Pear Cranberry Pie
Sweet, ripe Bartlett pears and fresh cranberries are topped with a brown sugar crumb.
Walnut Pie
Craig McNamara’s walnuts have inspired our spin on the traditional pecan pie.
Pumpkin Pie
Our seasonal favorite is made with a mix of roasted pumpkins and winter squash from Pie Ranch, enriched with milk and cream and sweetened with brown sugar and apple juice.