An original navy paper mask centered on top of a bed of hand-cut paper leaves on white mat board.
Dimensions: 11” x 14”
Note: All pieces are currently in our gallery show Masks, up now through November 11th. All pieces will ship after that date. If you have any questions, please email customer service [at] raredevice.net
As a child of Japanese immigrants in central Ohio, I did not meet many classmates who looked like me. Twenty some years ago, Japanese culture was considered neither cool nor hip. Kindergarten bullies tugged taut the skin at the corners of their eyes and taught me that my eyes looked weird. Elementary school kids let me know that eating raw fish was gross. By the time middle school rolled around, I had gotten smart to the idea of blending in as a means of avoiding being uncomfortable. My worst fear in those days was of having my differences called out. My mostly caucasian classmates had the privilege of assuming that everybody lived similar lives to themselves, of considering themselves the norm. And I myself never questioned the fact that they were "normal" and I was "different."
These pieces are a representation of this time and plainly depict masks in their purest role: camouflage. I tried to conform in the most obvious ways—through dress, speech, and demeanor. But on the flip side, I carefully hid my creativity, my weirdness, and my wildness. Concealing these not only served to strengthen the camouflage but also sought to protect and preserve these delicate parts of myself.
Each of the over 350 leaves that form the context of these pieces is hand cut and unique. They were placed individually to form a dimensional "nest" on which the masks live.