Toshiko Takaezu (1922–2011) was an important postwar Asian-American artist from Hawai‘i. My exploration of Takaezu’s work is closely informed by scholarship on hybridity and performative identity, which examines artists with hyphenated identities that bridge multiple personal and cultural formations. Takaezu has occupied an ambiguous and fluid space between cultures, artistic traditions, and assigned gender roles as Asian and American, as potter and sculptor, and as a woman who paid deference to traditional Japanese female culture but was also a pioneer artist who consistently identified with male forms of power. The essential paradoxes of Takaezu’s life and her struggle to find ways to create and perform her ethnicity without becoming trapped within it make her a fascinating case study. Her work reflects the implications of transnational flows and circulations; her clay works speaks to a heritage of migration, dispersal and the need to recapture a sense of lost homeland.
CollinsPatricia Hill. “Toward a New Vision: Race, Class and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection.” In Privilege: A Reader edited by KimmelMichael S. and FerberAbby. Cambridge, MA: Westview Press2003.
HonoluluHawaii Passenger and Crew Lists 1900–1959 database Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 22 September 2014) line 2 entry for Suisa Takayesu age 20 years 2 months farm labourer last residence Akenamura Okinawa;citing nara publication A3422 roll 9. “Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving in Honolulu Hawaii Compiled 2/13/1900–12/30/1953” Record Group 85 Records of Immigration and Naturalization Service 1787–2004 Washington d.c.
——. Line 24 entry for Kama Takaesu age 20 years housewife last residence GushichuanOkinawa.
“Toshiko Takaezu: Portrait of An Artist.” Trenton nj: njn Video 1993.
UentenWesley. “Okinawan Diaspora Blues.” In Laura Kina: Blue Hawaii. Exhibition catalogue. The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art University of Memphis. 21 February–27 March 2014.
Patricia Hill Collins“Toward a New Vision: Race, Class and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection,” in Privilege: A Readeredited by Michael S. Kimmel and Abby Ferber (Cambridge ma: Westview Press 2003) 11.