These watercolors were done on a 2017 trip to Okinawa, Japan to visit my extended family. They feature the natural and built environments including an indigenous Okinawan shrine, a contested military base, and a banyan tree as seen on a nature tour. My larger artistic practice focuses on themes of distance, belonging and the fluidity of cultural difference, and the slipperiness of identity. Okinawan and Hawai‘i diaspora and mixed race representations are subjects that run through my work. I start with autobiographical impulses and draw inspiration from popular culture, textile design, personal and community photographic archives, and oral history interviews. I collect these images, stories, and histories, and I see what is missing, what is not being told, what is not obvious, and I go hunting for it. I am interested in the overlap, fusion, disjuncture, gap, and vibration that happen when I bring back the missing pieces and put them together. Asian American studies, contemporary Asian American art, Critical Mixed Race Studies, and feminist/queer theory form the nexus of my intersectional scholarly research, publications, and projects.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
I am a queer, mixed-race Okinawan American artist-scholar and Vincent de Paul Professor at The Art School at DePaul University in Chicago. I was born in Riverside, CA and grew up in Poulsbo, WA. I received her BFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994 and MFA Studio Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2001. My artworks have exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries and museums including the Chicago Cultural Center, India Habitat Centre, India International Centre, Japanese American National Museum, Nehuru Art Centre, Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum, Rose Art Museum, the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Spertus Museum, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.
© Laura Kina