Featured Artists in 2019 Exchange:

Daisaku Ueno
ceramics / sculpture

A native of Hokkaido, Japan, Ueno makes large sculptural works using raw materials such as mud, wood, bamboo, stone and water. Many of his public works make use of readily available materials near the site.

His works retain a structural and visual fluidity that incorporates the unique characteristics of each organic element. He also works in ceramics, employing the traditional Japanese anagama firing process.

Masanori Umeda
painting / mixed media

Born and raised in Obihiro, Japan, Umeda is a painter and multi-media artist whose works are part of the permanent collection of the Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art.

In 1990, he won both the Best Special Award and the Ikko Tanaka Award in the Amnesty Poster Graphics Competition. From 1993 to 2008, he held the Inspirational Award at Liquitex Biennial. His solo exhibition, "Tokachi New Generation Series X (10)" was displayed at the Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art in 2007.

Hekiun Oda

Chicago’s premier practitioner of Shodo (traditional Japanese calligraphy) Oda was born in Kobe City, Japan, a municipality which was known at that time for a large concentration of shodo masters. Oda began studying shodo at the age of 5 under Goun Katsura, himself a master. Oda moved to Chicago in 1990, and has held exhibitions and demonstrations at various venues, including the Japanese Culture Center Chicago and McHenry County College.

In 2009, he established the Oda Japanese Calligraphy School and has taught over 100 students. Oda obtained a “Shihan” – the highest rank in shodo – in Nov. 2011 from Genshinkai, an association of calligraphers in Japan.

Hiroshi Mehata
noise music / design

Hiroshi Mehata is a Noise/Experimental Music artist who has also been creating graphic artworks based on his own music in Tokyo, Japan. His work explores metaphysical concepts of noum, kami, and kotodama as it relates to the history and spirituality of Japanese culture.

Since 2011 Mehata has been working under the name “Mehata Sentimental Legend” and released the album “Noum Zeccyou” under Germany's netlabel Mind Plug Records. Since then he has continued doing musical collaborations with foreign artists and musicians.

In 2013, Mehata had a first solo exhibition as a visual artist, Mehata Hiroshi- Noum Zeccyou at Gallery TEXU in Spain. He has also shown in Portugal, Italy, Indonesia, Tunisia, Australia, and Japan with a solo exhibition “Mehata Hiroshi Meets Abantal Restaurante” in Seville, Spain, in 2014 as part of 2013-2014 Japan-Spain 400th Anniversary.

Kioto Aoki
photography / film

Kioto is a second generation Japanese American artist and educator using the material specificity of the analogue image and image-making process to explore modes of perception as a politics of vision. Her photographic work oscillates between the still and the moving image, attentive to the apparatus of the human eye and the camera; while installation and artist book works engage mechanisms of structural tangibility and site-specificity. Forming a rhetoric of nuanced quietude, Kioto considers the intimacies of vision through the experience of sight.

Kioto is also a performing artist specializing in Japanese traditional music, playing taiko, tsuzumi, and shamisen. She is a descendant of the Toyoakimoto performing arts family with roots dating back to the Edo period. She has been performing on stage since the age of 7 and is carrying on the lineage as part of a traditional Japanese performing arts family. Kioto leads Asian Improv aRts Midwest's (AIRMW) Tsukasa Taiko Gintenkai Performance Unit with Kiyomi Negi and is Curatorial Manager for AIRMW's Incubation Program and for the Chicago Obihiro Exhibition.

Kiyomi Negi

Kiyomi is a second generation Japanese American illustrator and multidisciplinary designer specializing in visual storytelling, branding, and personalized caricatures known as 似顔絵 nigaoe. She often draws inspiration from her heritage in her work, featuring pop, comical drawings reminiscent of mangas she grew up reading or incorporating bold, modern graphics unique to Japanese design. As a bilingual and bicultural Chicago native, Kiyomi enjoys blending inherently (Mid)Western aesthetics with Eastern sensibility to explore the differences found between American and Japanese design trends.

Kiyomi currently leads the active Gintenkai premier performance unit in Tsukasa Taiko, completing an average of 70 shows a year including an annual concert at the Museum of Contemporary Art that celebrates its 16th anniversary in December 2019. Kiyomi is also the visual creative behind the brand for 2019 Chicago Obihiro Exhibition: 思考回路 Shikou Kairo: Patterns of Thoughts

Participating Artists:

Naoki Nakatani is a performance artist from Japan, whose work emphasizes the system of coexistence, both in social and micro scale. Each fragment of the world compromises and contradicts with one another. They make such shifts (performance) to stay together. Interpreting performance as a force, he facilitates systematic events that draw attention to our never ending participation in the world.

Mitsu Salmon creates performance and visual works that fuse multiple disciplines. She was born in Los Angeles to a Japanese mother and American father. Creating in differing media—translating one medium to another—is connected to the translation of differing cultures and languages. Her work draws from familial and personal narratives and then abstracts, expands, and contradicts them. Her current projects investigate familial histories, nature, imperialism, and archives.

Salmon received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014, and her undergrad degree from NYU.  She has participated in artist residencies at Taipei Artist Village (Taiwan), Incheon Art Platform (Korea), Oxbow (MI), Guildhall (NY) and PAM (LA) as well as locally at Links Hall, High Concept Lab, HATCH, and the Chicago Cultural Center. She has performed solo work at places such as Performance Space 122, Dance Theater Workshop, and Highways Performance Space. She has received the Midwest Nexus Touring Grant, Chicago Dancemaker’s Lab Grant, and DCASE IAP.  

Chicago-based and Japanese-born sound artist KIKÙ HIBINO has been producing cross-genre electronic music.  From chamber music for media productions to digital micro sound for art installations, he has collaborated internationally with a wide variety of artists and scholars, including Kawaguchi Takao (Dumb Type)Curtis RoadsTheaster Gates Mike Weis (Zelienople) and Norma Field

He studied electronic music composition at University of California at Santa Barbara under the mentorship of Curtis Roads and Karen Tanaka, and holds M.A. in media art and technology. B.A. in policy management from Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus in 2002, where he minored electronic music composition under the mentorship of Toru Iwatake, Atau Tanaka, and Christopher Penrose.

Fujima Yoshinojo (Rika Lin) is Grandmaster in Fujima style Japanese classical dance. As part of the shin-nisei post-war Japanese American diaspora, her work  blends traditional aesthetics with contemporary music and movement practices to make dance pieces relevant with 21st century ideas of roles and identity.

She has performed in venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Cultural Center, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, as well as within community and educational outreach programs. She is a member of Shubukai, the Japanese Classical Dance Program under Asian Improv aRts Midwest.

Mai Sugimoto is a Japanese born saxophonist and composer living in Chicago, IL. In 2018, she released her debut quartet album, Born/Raised (Asian Improv Recordswhich was made possible by an artist grant from the city of ChicagoSugimoto is an integral member of Chicagobased quartet, Hanami, that has released two albums and appeared in Chicago Jazz Festival. She often appears with bassist, Tatsu Aoki’s ensemblesincluding Fred Anderson Legacy Band and Miyumi Project.Howard Reich of Chicago Tribune has described her compelling performer” with “drychampagnetone and lyrical lines.

Sugimoto channels inspiration from her Japanese and American                                                       musical roots into writing and performing with various groups.

Tokiko Kimura is a Chicago-based Japanese musician who comes from the head family of the renowned Ikuta Koto School in Japan. She studied Koto under her uncle, Shinzo Miyagi, who was the Ikuta schoolmaster, and received her diploma in 2007.

She also began studying piano and solfeggio when she was at the age 3 and she continued study her piano in Senzoku Music University in Tokyo Japan. She has been playing the piano as a not only soloist but also accompanist. She has a diploma of piano and Koto.