Islands of Clay

Toshiko Takaezu, 1922–2011

in Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas
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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.

Islands of Clay

Toshiko Takaezu, 1922–2011

in Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas

Sections

References

BelgradDaniel. The Culture of Spontaneity: Improvisation and the Arts in Postwar America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press1998.

BrownConrad. “Toshiko Takaezu.” Craft Horizons (March/April 1959): 2226.

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.

JohnCoyne. The Penland School of Crafts Book of Pottery. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company1975.

GibsonAnn Eden. Abstract Expressionism: Other Politics. New Haven: Yale University Press1997.

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.

PeelerRobert. “Potters of the usa: Part Two.” Producer Peeler Ceramic Art Films. New York: McGraw Hill1964.

PerreaultJohn. “Truth in Clay.” Toshiko Takaezu Heaven and Earth. Racine, Wisconsin: Racine Art Museum2005.

ShimadaNoriko. “The Emergence of Okinawan Ethnic Identity in Hawaii; Wartime and Postwar Experiences.” The Japanese Journal of American Studies 23 (2012): 11738.

“Toshiko Takaezu Papers 1937–2010.” Personal letters of Toshiko Takaezu. Archives of American Art Smithsonian Institution.

“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.

WinnicottDonald W.The Maturational Process and the Facilitating Environment: Studies in the Theory of Emotional Development. New York: International Universities Press Inc.1965.

1

John Perreault“Truth in Clay,” in Toshiko Takaezu Heaven and Earth (Racine, Wisconsin: Racine Art Museum2005) 6.

2

Ann Eden GibsonAbstract Expressionism: Other Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press1997) ix–xiv.

3

Daniel BelgradThe Culture of Spontaneity: Improvisation and the Arts in Postwar America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press1998) 15.

4

Wesley Uenten“Okinawan Diaspora Blues,” in Laura Kina: Blue Hawaiiexhibition catalogue (The Martha and Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art University of Memphis 21 February–27 March 2014).

5

Noriko Shimada“The Emergence of Okinawan Ethnic Identity in Hawaii; Wartime and Postwar Experiences,” in The Japanese Journal of American Studies 23 (2012): 119.

11

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.

16

John CoyneThe Penland School of Crafts Book of Pottery (New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company1975) 175.

21

Conrad Brown“Toshiko Takaezu,” Craft Horizons (March/April 1959): 22.

22

Donald W. WinnicottThe Maturational Process and the Facilitating Environment: Studies in the Theory of Emotional Development (New York: International Universities Press Inc.1965) 185.

Figures

  • View in gallery

    Takaezu Family Portrait, 1927

  • View in gallery

    Toshiko Takaezu with her mother, sister, and a tour group in Japan, 1955

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    Toshiko Takaezu at Exhibition, Honolulu Art Academy, 1973

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    Toshiko Takaezu, Nepthys, 1999–2000. Glazed Stoneware; 47 × 27 inches (diameter)

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    Toshiko Takaezu throwing a closed form, 1974

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    Toshiko Takaezu, Po Tolo, 2005. Glazed Stoneware; 66 × 30 inches (diameter)

  • View in gallery

    Toshiko Takaezu, Mask, 1957. Stoneware-thrown pot; 9 × 7 × 9 inches

  • View in gallery

    Toshiko Takaezu, Blue Black Form, 1958. Porcelain-thrown pot; 9 × 8 × 9 inches

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