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2016 Artists


LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Interdisciplinary Poet, Vocalist, Curator

May 1 – September 1, 2016
A native Harlem resident, much of LaTasha Diggs’ poetry is embedded with the risks involved with locating social histories in different cultures. In her work she examines Black English, appropriation, code-switching, and language as a source of cultural expression, developing her own global lexicon through the splicing together of multiple languages. In Japan, Diggs will research and develop a collection of flash prose – part memoir and part travelogue – entitled Tuna Melt, which will explore themes and topics relating to the Japanese appropriation of hip-hop culture and house music, misconceptions of identities, the food additive monosodium glutamate, as well as Japanese anime, cinema, photography, and music. She plans to interview poets and musicians, and to also study butoh and taiko drumming.
Photo: Varni
  • http://latashadiggs.tumblr.com/

    Alex Dodge, Visual Artist

    October 1 - December 31, 2016
    Alex Dodge is a visual artist from Brooklyn, New York, whose work has been known to combine computer code and digital fabrication methods with more traditional media and art making techniques. In recent years, his drawings, works on canvas, and wood sculpture have used computation and computer-assisted tools in combination with the traditional forms, materials, and techniques such as those used by practitioners of miyadaiku, a form of traditional Japanese carpentry involving the use of elaborate wooden joints to construct temples and shrines. In Japan, Dodge plans to travel to Hyogo Prefecture to study with miyadaiku artisans and craftsmen, as well as to visit sites in Kyoto and Nara that are exemplary structures of miyadaiku construction. He plans to later establish a temporary studio in Tokyo to begin working with the materials and tools available to him locally.
  • http://alexdodge.com/

    Graham Kolbeins, Filmmaker

    April 1 - September 1, 2016
    Graham Kolbeins is a queer filmmaker, writer, and designer based in Los Angeles. Over the last few years, his work has engaged in the study and celebration of Japanese LGBTQ art through a variety of media including film, books, and a line of clothing featuring the artworks of gay Japanese artists. He has made three short documentary films on the subject, the latest of which is titled The House of Gay Art. He now plans to develop a feature-length documentary regarding both contemporary and historical manifestations of Japanese LGBTQ life and culture, a project that will also take shape in the form of an online series, gallery exhibitions, and a book of photography including extended interviews. He plans to visit with and document interviews with a wide range of people, including community leaders and activists, artists, politicians, and historians.
  • http://grahamkolbeins.com/

    marksearch (Bruce Douglas & Sue Mark), Interdisciplinary Artists

    May 1 - October 1, 2016

    Based in Oakland, California, Bruce Douglas and Sue Mark of marksearch refer to themselves as conversation artists, and as such, they “engage people in collaborative expressions of nearly extinct local history as a way to expose and deepen multi-faceted bonds between people and their environments.” Their art practice is deeply research-based, community-based, and interactive – much of their output is in the form of public projects that intimately engage with the personal histories of the people of a specific community. In Japan, they plan to investigate both the formal and informal methods used to support and sustain the creation of social memory – the collective knowledge of a group over time. Springboarding off of their interest in the mingei (Folk Crafts) movement, they will visit small cities and rural villages to study the ways in which traditional art and life practices have been preserved, or have adapted to change, as well as the effects of rural depopulation, artist-in-residence programs, and the consideration of audiences on the local and global level for such material.

  • http://www.marksearch.org/

    Piper Shepard, Textile Artist

    May 1 - August 1, 2016

    Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Piper Shepard cuts whole cloth into lace-like filigree patterns by hand, creating patterns in the textiles that are at times highly structural and at others, more freely designed. Her work investigates the physical tolerance and qualities of cloth, considering cloth as a skin or membrane, while also considering its ability to sustain, absorb, and hold history and memory. Her large-scale textiles reference architectural elements that act as screens, curtain walls and veils. In Japan, Shepard will study the multiple steps in the creation of a patterned and printed textile, with particular focus on katagami (pattern cutting) and katazome (pattern dyeing) techniques. She plans to travel to Mie prefecture to observe master stencil carvers, Shikoku to study papermaking, indigo dyeing and katazome, and Kyoto to experience dyeing and yuzen (paste resist). In addition to experiencing the various techniques involved, Shepard’s research will also address the history and cultural contexts of these traditional arts.

  • http://www.pipershepard.com/

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    2017 Artists


    June, 2017
    elaine_buckholz2_sElaine Buckholtz lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Her recent work utilizes video and light in relation to sculptural forms, digital prints, and preexisting sites in architecture and nature under the cover of darkness. Buckholtz has a background in visual and lighting design for the stage, and a significant aspect of her visual art has involved direct experiences and immersive environments for the viewer to engage in – the materials of her work have included light, vision, and perception in relation to objects as large as cathedrals and as small as a pair of glasses. In Japan she will be researching light art, architectural lighting and media facades, and related technological innovations.
  • http://www.elainebuckholtz.com/


    March, 2017
    jami-lin_sJami Nakamura Lin is a Chicago-based writer whose work explores the complex intersections of cultural identity, religion, and mental illness, and the ways mythology reflects a society’s desires and fears. As a Japanese-American woman whose family was placed in incarceration camps during the 1940s, Lin is interested in how xenophobia and nationalism often stem from creating a myth of the Other. Her current novel, loosely influenced by Japanese folklore, focuses on oni (roughly translated, demons) both literally and as metaphor for outsider. In Japan, she will research and visit sites and shrines relevant to the country’s rich mythology, as well as study oral storytelling and folk Shinto.
  • https://jaminakamuralin.com/


    July, 2017
    kimi-maeda_sKimi Maeda is a Japanese-American theater artist based in Columbia, South Carolina who makes intimate, cross-disciplinary visual performances. Since 2001, Maeda has designed sets and costumes in numerous productions in the US and Europe. Of these, her solo performance ephemera is a collection of sand drawing and shadow puppet pieces that engages memory, home, and trans-cultural identity. In Japan, Maeda will spend her time in Hamada City in Shimane Prefecture, studying the masks, puppets, costumes, music, and rehearsal process of Iwami kagura, a traditional Japanese Shinto dance originating in Shimane. She will also collect audio and video interviews with local kagura artists in Hamada.
  • http://www.kimimaeda.com/


    June, 2017
    qvantu_sQuynh Vantu is a licensed architect and LEED accredited professional based in Virginia. Her art practice considers a movement-based engagement with architecture, exploring our physical relationships and interactions with built environments and spatial surroundings. Drawing from her upbringing in the American South, Vantu’s work stems from influences of porch culture and “southern hospitality,” enacting social virtues and exchanges in the architectural interventions she creates. In Japan she will use the threshold as a methodological tool, to explore how this element is the most active space within architecture – and in effect becomes the physical manifestation of movement, a social condition that offers engagement with one another, and an implement to perform cultural ideals.
  • http://www.quynhvantu.com/


    vanessavoskuil2016_sVanessa Voskuil is a Minneapolis-based choreographer, director, performer, writer, designer, and teaching artist. Her works range from large community-inclusive performance works to ensemble and solo works for site-specific locations and theater settings, and are informed by the theater training methods of Yoshi Oida, as well as years of studying qigong and tai chi. Since 2008, she has also made a series of dance films. Following her formal study of noh theater in Osaka and Kyoto, Voskuil plans to develop a community of participants for a new work that would be directly influenced by this study of noh, and anticipates showing this work in Kyoto as well as Osaka.
  • http://vanessavoskuil.org/

    For profiles and photos of previous artists, please click on the year
    Artists' Profiles TOP JAPANESE