Transcendients

Current Exhibition

Taiji Terasaki: Transcendients - Heroes at Borders / 100 Days of COVID-19 / Memorial to Healthcare Workers

COVID Heroes

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Transcendients: 100 Days of COVID-19 and Memorial to Healthcare Workers

 

Artist Statement by Taiji Terasaki


In March of 2020, when Stay-at-Home Orders were imposed on much of the United States and the world, I found myself socially distanced in my studio. Responding to the uncertainties and anxieties the pandemic brought, I tried to find light in positive stories. So I started a meditative weaving process, creating one woven paper work every day for 100 days. 

At first my focus was on honoring frontline workers. But as the daily events I could bear witness to online evolved, so did my subjects. The 100 weavings I created over this period tell stories that vary widely, ranging from issues around race and class, to food sustainability, art, scientific innovations, and climate adaptation. 

The pandemic has forced our world to reset and reshape—in just a matter of three months and ten days, the world felt fundamentally changed. The 100 Days of COVID-19 weavings became material expressions of both compassion and sorrow, and an effort to spread a message of hope. 

Meantime, while following news coverage of the coronavirus, I repeatedly came across stories of healthcare workers who had died from COVID-19. I wanted to share their stories, and help commemorate these fallen heroes. I tried capturing the spiritual movement of these healthcare workers on mist, and then printed the resulting portraits on long Kozo paper scrolls. The 14 individuals on exhibit are just a fraction of the thousands of healthcare workers we have lost.

This project is a collaboration with Kaiser Health News and The Guardian. Since April 2020, their journalists have tracked all US healthcare worker deaths, and gathered them in an online interactive database called Lost on the Frontline. With their reporters, I was able to reach out to the families of each of the heroes in this gallery.

This exhibition is an extension of Terasaki’s exhibition Transcendients: Heroes at Borders.

Learn more about the heroes:  

   Transcendients: 100 Days of COVID-19

   Memorial to Healthcare Workers

 

Taiji Terasaki: Transcendients - 100 Days of COVID-19 and Memorial to Healthcare Workers
Photo by Paloma Dooley

 

COVID Heroes

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February 01, 2020 - May 16, 2021

Japanese American National Museum

100 North Central Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90012

COVID Heroes

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“Transcendients” combines two words, “transcend” and “transient.” To me the word speaks to those individuals who have honed their inner beings to find a core of strength—a power they use to muster the support and solidarity needed to make a difference. I think of these “Transcendients” as elegant and spiritual examples of the human spirit who will move us forward to the brilliance of humankind.”  —Taiji Terasaki

Transcendients: Heroes at Borders is a contemporary art exhibition by Taiji Terasaki, in collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum, that honors individuals who advocate and fight for those who face discrimination, prejudice, and inequality at borders both physical and psychological. Through video projections on mist, photographic weavings, and audience participation, visitors to this multimedia exhibition are invited to learn about, reflect on, and celebrate heroes in Los Angeles, across the nation, and within their own lives.

The heroes featured in the exhibition—some well-known but most unsung—were identified through extensive outreach to communities and neighborhoods throughout L.A. and beyond.

This exhibition was updated with new work Terasaki created during the pandemic. These projects, Transcendients: 100 Days of COVID-19 and Memorial to Healthcare Workers are featured in the JANM’s Atrium. 

 

Virtual 360° Walkthrough

Virtually walk through and explore the artworks in Transcendients: Heroes at Borders; click at top left to experience it in full screen mode. The “Layout” window shows you where you are located in the museum. Select from “Highlights” to take you directly to a specific section of the exhibition.

Walkthrough created by Bryan “Birdman” Mier.

 

About the Artist

Taiji Terasaki is a Japanese American artist based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Growing up in a family of scientists and creatives, with a formal arts education, Terasaki has spent more than 30 years exploring avant-garde innovations in his craft, working in photography, sculpture, immersive and large-scale installations, and pioneering mediums like mist projections as canvas. His cutting-edge presentations are often juxtaposed by the subjects of cultural and environmental conservation, preservation, and restoration.

Terasaki made his public debut in 2017 with REBIRTH at Honolulu’s Ward Center, and Edible Landscapes for the Trillenium in conjunction with Contact 3017: Hawai‘i in 1,000 Years at Honolulu Museum of Art. That same year, his first solo exhibition, Feeding the Immortals, premiered at the Ravizza Brownfield Gallery. Since then, Terasaki has invested his considerable energy into large-scale and civic art projects. He has shown in Hawai‘i, throughout the continental US, and internationally—most notably at the Curitiba Biennial in 2017. In 2019, he presented Transcendients: Immigrant Stories of Place in Honolulu, a 10-day public pop-up exhibition which highlighted the unique immigrant communities and immigration history in Honolulu through technology-based storytelling, contemporary portraiture, and immersive experiences. Transcendients: Heroes at Borders expands on that project.

Terasaki serves on the board of directors for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Terasaki Nibei Foundation. Additionally, he recently founded Make Visible, a 501c3 non profit whose mission is to advance artists and activism in the visual arts.

 

Media Sponsor: The Rafu Shimpo

#heroesDTLA #VisitJANM

COVID Heroes

Share

February 01, 2020 - May 16, 2021

Japanese American National Museum

100 North Central Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90012

COVID Heroes

Share

“Transcendients” combines two words, “transcend” and “transient.” To me the word speaks to those individuals who have honed their inner beings to find a core of strength—a power they use to muster the support and solidarity needed to make a difference. I think of these “Transcendients” as elegant and spiritual examples of the human spirit who will move us forward to the brilliance of humankind.”  —Taiji Terasaki

Transcendients: Heroes at Borders is a contemporary art exhibition by Taiji Terasaki, in collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum, that honors individuals who advocate and fight for those who face discrimination, prejudice, and inequality at borders both physical and psychological. Through video projections on mist, photographic weavings, and audience participation, visitors to this multimedia exhibition are invited to learn about, reflect on, and celebrate heroes in Los Angeles, across the nation, and within their own lives.

The heroes featured in the exhibition—some well-known but most unsung—were identified through extensive outreach to communities and neighborhoods throughout L.A. and beyond.

This exhibition was updated with new work Terasaki created during the pandemic. These projects, Transcendients: 100 Days of COVID-19 and Memorial to Healthcare Workers are featured in the JANM’s Atrium. 

 

Virtual 360° Walkthrough

Virtually walk through and explore the artworks in Transcendients: Heroes at Borders; click at top left to experience it in full screen mode. The “Layout” window shows you where you are located in the museum. Select from “Highlights” to take you directly to a specific section of the exhibition.

Walkthrough created by Bryan “Birdman” Mier.

 

About the Artist

Taiji Terasaki is a Japanese American artist based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Growing up in a family of scientists and creatives, with a formal arts education, Terasaki has spent more than 30 years exploring avant-garde innovations in his craft, working in photography, sculpture, immersive and large-scale installations, and pioneering mediums like mist projections as canvas. His cutting-edge presentations are often juxtaposed by the subjects of cultural and environmental conservation, preservation, and restoration.

Terasaki made his public debut in 2017 with REBIRTH at Honolulu’s Ward Center, and Edible Landscapes for the Trillenium in conjunction with Contact 3017: Hawai‘i in 1,000 Years at Honolulu Museum of Art. That same year, his first solo exhibition, Feeding the Immortals, premiered at the Ravizza Brownfield Gallery. Since then, Terasaki has invested his considerable energy into large-scale and civic art projects. He has shown in Hawai‘i, throughout the continental US, and internationally—most notably at the Curitiba Biennial in 2017. In 2019, he presented Transcendients: Immigrant Stories of Place in Honolulu, a 10-day public pop-up exhibition which highlighted the unique immigrant communities and immigration history in Honolulu through technology-based storytelling, contemporary portraiture, and immersive experiences. Transcendients: Heroes at Borders expands on that project.

Terasaki serves on the board of directors for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Terasaki Nibei Foundation. Additionally, he recently founded Make Visible, a 501c3 non profit whose mission is to advance artists and activism in the visual arts.

 

Media Sponsor: The Rafu Shimpo

#heroesDTLA #VisitJANM

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