Japanese American artist to showcase mural on Day of Remembrance

To honor the 80th anniversary of the Day of Remembrance, Meta — formerly known as Facebook — is partnering with the Bellevue Arts Museum to host a livestream dedicated to Nikkei farmers who once resided in the city of Bellevue.

The livestream will include a behind the scenes look at a mural titled “Emerging Radiance: Honoring the Nikkei Farmers of Bellevue,” by artist Michelle Kumata and creative director Tani Ikeda. The mural consists of nine large scale portraits of local Nikkei farmers and augmented reality activations that bring stories to life through animating the mural with archival images and audio recordings.

“The skin tones are shades of gold and yellow to convey reverence and honor for these individuals and the Japanese American farmer community,” said Kumata. “The color also represents how these people were viewed and targeted at that time, and also how we, Asian Americans, continue to be viewed and targeted as yellow people, and as forever foreigners. Yellow represents how we own our unique cultures, heritage and history, and embrace the beauty of being different.”

Kumata’s hand-painted mural was previously unveiled in Meta’s Bellevue office, and a hand-painted replica of the mural’s imagery will be displayed on a life-sized farmhouse, designed by architect Jerry Chihara, at the Bellevue Arts Museum.

The event is free to the public and will take place virtually from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 19. The livestream will be available through the Bellevue Arts Museum’s Facebook and YouTube accounts.

In addition to partnering with the Bellevue Arts Museum and Michelle Kumata, Meta will also be partnering with imMEDIAte Justice, a nonprofit organization that teaches hands-on filmmaking and media literacy to young women, and FutureArts, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that creates togetherness in communities.

About the artist

Michelle Kumata is a 3.5 generation Japanese American artist. She received a BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York and was a graphic artist for the Seattle Times for over a decade.

For 12 years, Kumata acted as the Exhibit Director at the Wing Luke Museum, where she worked with Asian and Native Americans as well as Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders to amplify their voices through engaging exhibits.

Kumata is currently exploring the Japanese diaspora in the United States and Brazil through oral histories and visual storytelling. Kumata’s work can be seen in collections at Meta, Seattle City Light Civic Art Collection, and the Library of Congress.

About the creative director

Tani Ikeda is an Emmy winning director who creates narratives, documentaries, music videos, and commercial films. Ikeda co-founded the nonprofit organization, imMEDIAte Justice, at the age of 21, and she currently serves as the Executive Director.

To RSVP for the event, visit https://www.bellevuearts.org/programs-events/public-programs/2022-02-19-day-of-remembrance

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Source: Bellevue Reporter