All posts in “Kamekichi Tokita”

Kamekichi Tokita Self-Portrait in "Painting Seattle" exhibition at the Seattle Asian Art Museum

Japanese Internment Remembered at Final Weekend of “Painting Seattle”

In recognition of Remembrance Day on February 19, guest curator Barbara Johns will give an exhibition tour of Painting Seattle: Kamekichi Tokita and Kenjiro Nomura on Saturday, February 18, at 11 am.

Remembrance Day marks the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which enabled the U.S. military to forcibly relocate anyone considered threatening to national security. The order resulted in the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American born citizens, the children and grandchildren of the Japanese immigrant generation. Even as the order was signed, ranking officials understood that there were no grounds to suspect and hold an entire population. This year is the 70th anniversary of the signing.

The circumstances leading to the signing and the impact on peoples’ lives is movingly recounted in Tokita’s diary, which is published in Signs of Home: The Paintings and Wartime Diary of Kamekichi Tokita. Two of his paintings from the Minidoka Relocation Center are included in the exhibition.

Admission to the Seattle Asian Art Museum will be free on February 19—also the last day of Painting Seattle—in further recognition of the importance of the day.

Self-portrait, ca. 1936, oil on canvas, Kamekichi Tokita American (born in Japan), 1897-1946, 21 x 17 in., collection of Shokichi and Elsie Y. Tokita.

Resolve to See More Art in 2012!

Finally a New Year’s resolution that will be fun to try and keep–come experience the art at SAM Downtown, the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park! Here are our top five picks for what to see and do with SAM in January.

1. Walk through Do Ho Suh’s Gate.
Luminous: The Art of Asia closes January 8, which means there are only five more days to see Do Ho Suh’s magnificent multimedia installation and to take in this gorgeous exhibition representing  5,000 years of Asian art.

2. Take a spin in Theaster Gates: The Listening Room.
Visit the “church of wax” at SAM Downtown and touch, feel and play the records (yes-vinyl records!)  in this installation at SAM Downtown. The Listening Room also extends beyond the walls of the museum to a storefront in Pioneer Square called the Record Store, where you can be part of a listening party.

3. See a unique perspective of 1930s Seattle.
Painting Seattle at the Seattle Asian Art Museum features two painters, Kamekichi Tokita and Kenjiro Nomura, known in 1930s Seattle for their American realist style of landscape painting. They shared the cultural legacy of Japan and the active cultural life of Seattle’s Japantown, while they found a public audience for their work in mainstream art institutions and participated alongside the city’s advanced artists, such as Mark Tobey, Ambrose Patterson and Walter Isaacs.

4. Get ready for Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise.
Seattle Art Museum presents the only United States stop for this landmark show highlighting the complex relationship between Paul Gauguin’s work and the art and culture of Polynesia. The exhibition, on view at SAM Downtown February 9 through April 29, includes about 50 of Gauguin’s brilliantly hued paintings, sculptures and works on paper, which are displayed alongside 60 major examples of Polynesian sculpture that fueled his search for the exotic. Organized by the Art Centre Basel, the show is comprised of works on loan from some of the world’s most prestigious museums and private collections. Buy your advance tickets now!

5. Celebrate the Olympic Sculpture Park’s 5th Birthday Party.
Five years ago Seattle’s waterfront was transformed forever. Come to the Olympic Sculpture Park on January 21 to help us mark this very important milestone with food, art and other activities.

Combine some of your other New Year’s resolutions with art. Trying to exercise more? Take a walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park or ride your bike to the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Looking to save money? Take advantage of First Thursdays or SAM’s suggested admission, which allows you to pay what you can. Art can even help you decrease stress.

SAM is always happy to connect art to your life, and we look forward to seeing you more in 2012!

-Madeline Moy, Digital Media Manager

Bridge, 1931, Kamekichi Tokita, American, 1897-1948, oil on canvas, 23 1/4 x 19 1/16 in., Gift of the artist,  33.230, © Kamekichi Tokita. On view in Painting Seattle: Kamekichi Tokita and Kenjiro Nomura starting on Saturday, 22 October, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park.

SAMart: Tokita, Nomura, and Seattle

Kamekichi Tokita and Kenjiro Nomura were first-generation Japanese Americans, or Issei, who made their home inSeattle. While many artists turned their sights to the Northwest’s natural grandeur, Tokita and Nomura looked to the places they knew well—the neighborhood in and around Japantown or Nihonmachi (today part of the International District), the working waterfront, and the farmlands cultivated by Japanese American families.

Labeled American Scene painters (a popular movement in American art of the 1930s) by their contemporaries, both artists’ work reveals the details of place that derive from daily familiarity, often the intimate views one sees while walking. In their choice of subject, the particularities of place and time, and the reference to cultural heritage, they describe the perspective of American immigrants who have made a new home.

Bridge, 1931, Kamekichi Tokita, American, 1897-1948, oil on canvas, 23 1/4 x 19 1/16 in., Gift of the artist, 33.230, © Kamekichi Tokita. On view in Painting Seattle: Kamekichi Tokita and Kenjiro Nomura starting on Saturday, 22 October, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park.