“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.