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Islands of Clay

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Toshiko Takaezu, 1922–2011

image of Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas

Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011) was an important postwar Asian-American artist from Hawai‘i. My exploration of Takaezu’s work is closely informed by scholarship on hybridity and performative identity, which examines artists with hyphenated identities that bridge multiple personal and cultural formations. Takaezu has occupied an ambiguous and fluid space between cultures, artistic traditions, and assigned gender roles as Asian and American, as potter and sculptor, and as a woman who paid deference to traditional Japanese female culture but was also a pioneer artist who consistently identified with male forms of power. The essential paradoxes of Takaezu’s life and her struggle to find ways to create and perform her ethnicity without becoming trapped within it make her a fascinating case study. Her work reflects the implications of transnational flows and circulations; her clay works speaks to a heritage of migration, dispersal and the need to recapture a sense of lost homeland.

Affiliations: 1: College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, ma, USA, leilaphilip@gmail.com

10.1163/23523085-00101007
/content/journals/10.1163/23523085-00101007
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1. Belgrad Daniel. The Culture of Spontaneity: Improvisation and the Arts in Postwar America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
2. Brown Conrad. “"Toshiko Takaezu".” Craft Horizons (March/April 1959): 2226.
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6. Honolulu Hawaii, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1900–1959 database, Ancestry.com (: accessed 22 September 2014) line 2, entry for Suisa Takayesu, age 20 years, 2 months, farm labourer, last residence Akenamura, Okinawa;citing nara publication A3422, roll 9. “Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving in Honolulu, Hawaii, Compiled 2/13/1900–12/30/1953,” Record Group 85, Records of Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787–2004, Washington, d.c.
7. ——. Line 24, entry for Kama Takaesu, age 20 years, housewife, last residence Gushichuan, Okinawa.
8. Peeler Robert. “"Potters of the usa: Part Two".” Producer, Peeler Ceramic Art Films. New York: McGraw Hill, 1964.
9. Perreault John. “"Truth in Clay".” Toshiko Takaezu, Heaven and Earth. Racine, Wisconsin: Racine Art Museum, 2005.
10. Shimada Noriko. “"The Emergence of Okinawan Ethnic Identity in Hawaii; Wartime and Postwar Experiences".” The Japanese Journal of American Studies Vol 23 (2012): 11738.
11. “Toshiko Takaezu Papers, 1937–2010.” Personal letters of Toshiko Takaezu. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
12. “Toshiko Takaezu: Portrait of An Artist.” Trenton, nj: njn Video, 1993.
13. Uenten Wesley. “"Okinawan Diaspora Blues".” In Laura Kina: Blue Hawaii. Exhibition catalogue. The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art, University of Memphis. 21 February–27 March, 2014.
14. Winnicott Donald W.The Maturational Process and the Facilitating Environment: Studies in the Theory of Emotional Development. New York: International Universities Press Inc., 1965.
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/content/journals/10.1163/23523085-00101007
2015-02-24
2018-07-17

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