This body of work is part of Emma Nishimura’s ongoing research that focuses on the narratives surrounding the Japanese Canadian internment, which investigates the weight of memory and the stories that are passed down from one generation to the next (and the stories that are lost as well).
An extension of her series An Archive of Rememory, this new work draws inspiration from a traditional form of Japanese packaging known as furoshiki, in which a square of cloth or paper can wrap a gift or protect valuable objects.
Within the series, An Archive of Rememory, Nishimura worked with photo-intaglio and sculptural papermaking processes, and created hundreds of bundled objects that appeared to contain an assortment of objects and have varying illusions of physical weight. Using photographic images from family albums (her own, as well as others) Nishimura created photo-etchings and printed these onto hand-made paper before bundling the forms into furoshiki. Small details were accessible when viewed from different angles, yet the complete photographs could never be fully seen. Stories and memories were packaged and archived, revealing some moments, while concealing others.
In this new series, Generational Echoes, Nishimura works with the documentation of the sculptural works in An Archive of Rememory. She transformed these sculptural representations of different memories into a different kind of recorded experience. These stories and memories can no longer be held, turned around, or unfolded. Only one angle, one view has been preserved to share with the next generation.
Based in Toronto, Emma Nishimura’s work ranges from traditional etchings, archival pigment prints, drawings, and audio pieces to art installations. Using a diversity of media, her work addresses ideas of memory and loss that are rooted within family stories and inherited narratives. Emma received her MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2013 and her BA from the University of Guelph in 2005. Her work is in public and private collections and has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Emma is currently the Chair of Photography, Printmaking and Publications at OCAD University. Previously she taught at the University of Guelph, Sheridan College and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (biography text courtesy of the artist’s website).