Tour of Roger Shimomura: By Looking Back, We Look Forward

Anne Rose Kitagawa, JSMA chief curator of collections, Asian art, and academic programs, leads a tour of Roger Shimomura: By Looking Back, We Look Forward.

About the exhibition:
Over his long and prolific career, distinguished American artist and educator Roger Shimomura has channeled his outrage and despair into beautiful, provocative, often irreverent, and sometimes inflammatory art. He uses a brightly colored Pop-Art style to depict a dizzying combination of traditional Japanese imagery and exaggerated cultural stereotypes. With an ironic touch and acerbic wit, he creates powerful works that interrogate American and Asian pop-cultural icons, notions of race, self-portraiture, and current political affairs, and interprets them through the prism of his family’s WWII internment experience.

Roger Shimomura was born in Seattle in 1939. In 1942, he and his family were forcibly relocated to the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Hunt, Idaho – one of ten U.S. internment camps in which 120,000 Japanese and American citizens of Japanese descent were incarcerated from 1942-45. After the war, Shimomura’s family returned to Seattle, where he grew up, studied art at the University of Washington, and joined the ROTC. After a short stint in the Army, he began work as a commercial designer, but returned to UW to study Pop Art, merging his creative talents with his long-standing interest in popular culture. He transferred Syracuse University, where he experimented with performance and film and received an MFA in 1969. He then taught for 35 years at the University of Kansas, retiring in 2004.

This exhibition is drawn primarily from the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer, augmented with selected loans and works from the museum’s collection.

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