Fourth-generation Japanese-American Michelle Fujii creates contemporary work centered in the Japanese art forms of taiko (drums) and folk dance. “The work I create is rooted in my cultural identity and lived experiences,” she explains. “It responds to current events, community conversations and societal issues. Being personal and authentic is the foundation of my work, investigating notions of identity, otherness, and home against an American landscape.”
Her submission, Sayonara Mata Ashita, debuted May 16, 2020. She explains, “Fifty-two people sang along that are a significant and inspirational part of our taiko lives – our mentors, our Unit Souzou taiko family, our Women & Taiko community connections, our Warabi-za family, our organizational partners. It was such a beautiful and overwhelming journey. As our communities face duress, self-isolation, social distancing, this song was written with the hope that the narrative of this time is not of more othering, but of more togetherness.”
Credits: Conceived and directed by Michelle Fujii in collaboration with Unit Souzou Ensemble – Ian Berve, Toru Watanabe, David Wells, Vicky Zhang. Special Thanks to: Amy Naylor – Video Editing, David Wells – Sound Editing, Michelle Fujii – Video Project Manager, Koto-Izumi Kuroki, Shakuhachi-Tsuyoshi Ozawa.
#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment
Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Asian, Black, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.