The weight of what cannot be remembered
Emma Nishimura is a Toronto based artist, whose art practice ranges from traditional etchings and papermaking, to installations. She received her MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her BA from the University of Guelph. Emma’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in public and private collections. Recent exhibitions include: MacLaren Art Centre (ON), Biennale Internationale du Lin de Portneuf (QE), Constellation Studios (NE), California Institute of Integral Studies (CA), Beijing Taimiao Art Gallery (China). Emma currently teaches at OCAD University, the University of Guelph and Sheridan College.
Using a diversity of media, her work addresses ideas of memory and loss that are rooted within family stories and inherited narratives. After much researching, collecting and recording of Emma’s own family’s stories, as well as other families’ stories, she has sought to explore through this work, how the memories associated with the Japanese Canadian internment have been quietly stored and packed away. For how does one sort, contain and navigate the weight of individual memory? How does trans-generational memory get passed on? Is it possible for these fragile, elusive and multi-layered stories to be made tangible?
Pulling inspiration from a traditional form of Japanese wrapping known as furoshiki, family stories have been layered into the folds of a wrapping meant to carry or protect. Memories have been captured, recorded and archived. Transcriptions of oral histories and images from different generations’ experiences of the Japanese Canadian internment and its aftermath have been written and printed, over and over again. And yet, throughout these processes, the futility of these actions has been ever present, as these gestures can only ever be an echo of what once was. By drawing attention to the fragments and layers left behind, the weight of what cannot be recovered or remembered is revealed.
An essay by Heather Read accompanies the exhibition. Please click here to download the brochure.
Emma Nishimura would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council.