Tag Archives: Michelle Kumata

OPINION: What It Means to Be Japanese American — Michelle Kumata’s Artistic Exploration

by Glenn Nelson


Though Michelle Kumata can make your eyes pop with her colors and imagery, if you don’t examine her pieces carefully, detect the nuances and Easter eggs, and cogitate upon all of them, you are bound to miss something profound. 

In that way, the artist and her art are like holding a highly polished mirror to her Japanese American heritage. Hers is a community whose connective tissue is its experience with mass incarceration by its own government. The melding of Japanese customs and response to a very American-concocted collective trauma has resulted in a community whose definition evades clarity, even to its own members.

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