RACC Blog

Capturing the Moment artist – Michelle Fujii

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.


Capturing the Moment artist – janessa bautista

Multimedia artist janessa bautista’s artistic practice involves natural dyeing with plant material, some of which she harvested or grew herself. “I dye natural fibers in the form of fabric and rope.” she explains. “The work I create is about everyday needs and the energy that is put into the making process. I do my best to always have compassion for myself and for others, with this comes healing and growth. The energy I put into my artistic process creates a healing vibration, as it is a healing experience. My objects carry the vibration into your home and life by embodying the healing work in the experience. I create healing offerings using ritual, handmade vessels and a beautiful altar to honor the five senses, four elements and the four directions. Let us explore our relationship to the objects, their relationship to each other and how their use supports our healing process and all those around us.”

janessa bautista, Tea Ceremony, 2020. Set includes includes: Indigo meditation seat, woven planter, hibachi grill, altar yoni spoon.

 

Fiber art sculpture. Natural dyed indigo cotton rope woven on walnut wood. Rope, natural dyes, wood, clay.

janessa bautista, Hanging Altar Indigo detail, 2020.

Find out more about artist janessa bautista.

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed to reflect and record this time of change, uncertainty, loss and hope. It will continue to serve and showcase some of the work emerging from artists and creatives during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

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.


Capturing the Moment artist – May Maylisa Cat

May Maylisa Cat is a multidisciplinary artist whose work lies at the intersection of food culture, racialized labor, and identity. Her work spans new media, painting, glass, and performance.

Multidisciplinary artist May Maylisa Cat

 

The panel of curators selected two of May Maylisa Cat’s works for Capturing the Moment.

The first, a video titled Farang Kee Nok (Bird Sh!t Foreigner), she describes as an “absurdist video artwork that touches on the hypocrisy of ex-pats who fetishize the cultures of the countries they move to.” She explains that the video purposely utilizes ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement) to add a surreal dissonance to the piece. It was created during a mentor workshop with visual artist Kalup Linzy at Chautauqua Visual Arts residency. Play the video here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIfdl3pm0Q8

The second, titled Across, Whom? was constructed of found materials including nylon fabric, rice bag, and hardware. Made in collaboration with Sean Brady.

Nylon fabric, rice bag, and hardware Ricebag conformed to a luggage / migration prop.

May Maylissa Cat, Across, Whom?, 2020

Follow May Maylissa Cat on Instagram @maymaylisacatz or Twitter @maymaylisacat.

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed to reflect and record this time of change, uncertainty, loss and hope. It will continue to serve and showcase some of the work emerging from artists and creatives during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.


Capturing the Moment – Stories from a Pandemic

Just over a year ago, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued her executive order putting our state into lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus. Last fall we asked artists to submit works of all media “Capturing the Moment,” reflecting their artistic response to the economic and health crisis in our communities. Submissions flooded in–sculpture, illustrations, video, photography, painting, and more.

See and hear their art. Read their stories. Learn more.

Sayonara Mata Ashita

Michelle Fujii, creates contemporary work centered in the Japanese art forms of taiko (drums) and folk dance. She describes how, as a fourth generation Japanese-American, her art “navigates the multifaceted complexity of identity in our communities, and reveals my journey to claim my own identity story.” Her submission, Sayonara Mata Ashita  debuted May 16, 2020. “Fifty-two people sang along that are a significant and inspirational part of our taiko lives,” she explains. “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.”

We think you will agree. Have a listen. (Play button located lower left hand corner of the image below).

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.

Artists tell their stories

In addition to sharing their work for “Capturing the Moment,” artists also shared the ways they personally were impacted by lost opportunities for funding or revenue due to COVID-19. Some were laid off from regular employment, many lost freelance gigs, canceled tours, postponed debuts of new works, and other productions. Some used makeshift spaces to continue working; painting on a friend’s porch or editing in a loaned studio after being evacuated by summer wildfires. Despite the challenges, they demonstrated their resilience and creativity. They adapted, adjusting projects that were canceled or delayed because of the pandemic. They found new life – and continued living – as artists and creatives.

See and hear the works of these local artists and their response to the moment.

Terrance Burton

janessa bautista

Julian Saporiti

May Maylisa Cat

Ashley Mellinger

Valerie Yeo

Somya Singh

Michelle Fujii

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal CARES money (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Asian, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, multiracial, and Pacific Islander artists living in the City of Portland.


Capturing the Moment artist – Somya Singh

Somya Singh makes “memoir comics” from lived experiences. “I have been making comics in ink for over ten years. They often depict painful or difficult moments that I’m trying to reconcile for myself,” Somya explains. The comics selected for Capturing the Moment depict what the lockdown has looked like, conceptually, and include familiar scenes from quarantine: protests, isolation, social distancing, etc.

Somya Singh, Scenes from Quarantine, 2020

 

Somya Singh, Out To Sea, 2020

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed to reflect and record this time of change, uncertainty, loss and hope. It will continue to serve and showcase some of the work emerging from artists and creatives during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Capturing the Moment artist – Ashley Mellinger

Ashley Mellinger strives to “re-imagine traditional narratives and include marginalized voices in ways that are not centered on their identities and, specifically, the trauma associated with their experiences. I am particularly committed to telling stories in the spirit of afro-futurism.” Her artistic practice straddles both theatre and film. She co-founded Desert Island Studios to increase artists’ accessibility to film resources. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Actor and Producer Ashley Mellinger

Ashley describes the short film, Vent, selected for Capturing the Moment, as an “Indie Thriller” that she co-created with a small team to enter into the Asian American Film Lab 72 Hour Shootout close to the start of quarantine. “We created a timely, relatable narrative short that explores the effects of isolation and viral misinformation,” she said. The result is a film that won Second Runner Up, Best Editor, and Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Cinematography.

You can watch the five-minute film here.

Ashley Mellinger, VENT, 2020

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed to reflect and record this time of change, uncertainty, loss and hope. It will continue to serve and showcase some of the work emerging from artists and creatives during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.


Capturing the Moment artist – Valerie Yeo

Valerie Yeo is a psychologist in her “day job” and, she says, “an artist in all parts of my life.”

Valerie Yeo, Wave 2, 2020

A visual artist primarily working with ink, watercolor, and acrylic mediums, her series, Waves, painted in acrylic on 8″ x 8″ canvas panels, captures, as she says, “the collective trauma of 2020.” It made her consider the power of water as a force for change. “I feel very drawn to the power of this particular element, which has both the capacity to heal and destroy. The movement of water is also slow and steady, and can create permanent changes and paths forward, even through the most solid seeming entities. This is a time of grief, resistance, and awakening; and a time to allow for the outflow of stagnant ways of being.”

Follow Valerie on Instagram.

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed to reflect and record this time of change, uncertainty, loss and hope. It will continue to serve and showcase some of the work emerging from artists and creatives during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.


Capturing the Moment artist – Julian Saporiti

Artist Julian Saporiti describes collaborating with community group Portland Taiko, to create Orient Oregon. “It was a historical song/film work composed against the backdrop of 2020. Through music it highlights the often invisible story of early Japanese American immigrants who worked as shopkeepers, loggers, farmers, and more. Over the course of a century, they endured racism and mass incarceration in concentration camps. Through original songs we get a sense of this 20th century narrative all set to rare footage of Japanese-American home movies filmed between 1920-1960, situating faces of color amongst the waterfalls, mountains and cities of Oregon, broadening a general understanding of who is woven into Oregon’s history.”

No-No Boy is a multi-media project blending film, sound, story and song into works which illuminate untold histories of immigrants and refugees in the United States. Through original lyrics, sound design, and carefully curated and edited archival imagery, difficult histories come to life in a pastiche which attunes multiple senses to the stories unfolding in each work.

 

#PDXCARES Supported Capturing the Moment

This RACC initiative was intended to further and support Portland-based artists making work during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis. The call for submissions aimed to reflect and record this time of change, uncertainty, loss and hope. It will continue to serve and showcase some of the work emerging from artists and creatives during this historic moment. Artist submissions selected for Capturing the Moment will be shared via RACC and the City of Portland’s communication channels including digital formats and social media accounts.

Funding for Capturing the Moment came from the City of Portland’s federal allocation of CARES funding (#PDXCARES). It was specifically dedicated to Black artists, Indigenous artists, and all artists of color who reside in the City of Portland.