Friday, April 27, 2012

Panel Presentation/Discussion: On Being Japanese Canadian

On Being Japanese Canadian
Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Japanese Canadian Dispersal
Tuesday, June 19, 7 p.m.

Panel presentation and discussion:
David Tsubouchi, Natalie Higashi, Bryce Kanbara, Lillian Michiko Blakey


David Tsubouchi
- a sansei (third generation Japanese Canadian), born in Toronto in 1951.
- during World War II his mother, Fumiko Takahashi was interned in Lemon Creek and his father, Kiyoshi Tsubouchi spent his time in P.O.W. Camp 101
- the first Japanese-Canadian to hold political office in Canada and has held numerous posts including Chair of Management Board of Cabinet, Solicitor General and Minister of Culture
- received several awards of recognition including the Bruce Bryden Leadership Award and the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Award of Merit for Contribution to the Nikkei Community
- serves as a Member of the Board of Governors of York University, Seneca College, the Markham Stouffville Hospital and the Varley McKay Art Gallery
- chaired the Rising Sun Campaign for the people of Japan as a result of the earthquake and tsunami and is the Chair of the JCCC “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” $15M capital campaign

 Natalie Higashi
- a  sansei (third generation Japanese Canadian)  and a “Hapa”  mixed race Japanese/Chinese
- graduate of the London Film School as a Producer with several of her films winning recognition and awards at festivals around the world, including the Trailblazer Award for new, upcoming UK talent at the Edinburgh Film Festival (2008)
- In 2010, Natalie Higashi was attending City University in London, England, completing a Masters Degree in Journalism. For a graduation project she was required to do a professional project in either radio or television. As she already had a Masters in filmmaking it was an easy decision to make a film and she chose as her subject the changing face of the post-war Japanese Canadian community, a change brought about by the high intermarriage rate—95% according to Statistics Canada. The resulting film, The New Faces of the Japanese Canadian Community, was filmed partly at the 2010 Powell Street Festival and the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre in New Denver. Through discussions with scholars and community members, the film looks at reasons behind the high rate of intermarriage and the effect of it on how Japanese Canadians perceive themselves.
- after returning to Canada, Higashi had the opportunity to revisit the topic of intermarriage, this time for radio, creating “Marrying Outside”  for CBC Radio’s The Current in 2011. The program was aired as part of series, Shifting Demographics in Canada.

Bryce Kanbara
- a sansei (third generation Japanese Canadian) whose father was in POW camp at Angler         
- member of team who worked for Redress to compensate Japanese Canadians for suffering and loss of property and livelihoods
- artist, curator and writer
- owner of you me gallery in Hamilton
- founder and first Administrator of Hamilton Artists Inc.
- curatorial positions at Burlington Art Centre, Art Gallery of Hamilton/ Visual Arts, Crafts & Design Officer at the Ontario Arts Council
- Executive Director of the Toronto Chapter of the National Association of Japanese Canadians
- Co-Chair of the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, Hamilton.
- recipient of the Hamilton Arts Award, the Carnegie Art Award
- many public exhibitions at the regional and national levels.

Lillian Michiko Blakey
- a sansei (third generation Japanese Canadian), born in Coaldale, Alberta in 1945
- graduate of Fine Art, U of T and Faculty of Education, U of T
- former Art Head, Consultant for Literacy and Equity in the Curriculum in the North York Board of Education  and the Toronto District School Board
- professional artist for over 35 years, currently exploring her family story through paintings, collages and bookmaking
- former Art Head and Consultant for Literacy and Equity in the Curriculum in the North York Board of Education  and the Toronto District School Board
- co-author of inclusive language series “What a Wonderful World”, Pearson Publishing Inc.
- writer for  “ Talking About Identity”, Behind the Lines Publishing
- past president of the Ontario Society of Artists
- Chair, Board of Directors for partners: a collaboration
- Member, Board of Directors, John B. Aird Gallery

On Being Michiko a sansei artist’s journey

On Being Michiko a sansei artist’s journey
Lillian Michiko Blakey
Tuesday, May 29 – Friday, June 22, 2012
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 31, 6-8 p.m.

On Being Michiko: A sansei artist's journey

    Who am I?  This is a question asked by all people whose roots are  two cultures. Even though I was not born until the end of World War II and my parents were both born in Canada,  I inherited the shame of all Japanese Canadians who were caught in the  dilemma of being both Japanese and Canadian.  Like many sansei, third generation Japanese Canadians, I grew up denying my cultural heritage, my first language and my people.

    It is only in recent years that I have tried to reconcile my dilemma by depicting my family's story in my art work.  I have attempted to bring past and present together  by including myself, as I am now, looking back at events which had taken place so long ago which have shaped my worldview.

    Alienation and persecution continue to be suffered by people all over the world.  As a result, many people have come to Canada, seeking a peaceful existence in a just society.  I hope that my work serves as a tribute to the courageous people who came before me and as a visual warning that the persecution suffered by my family can be repeated even in the most democratic of countries - even in Canada - if we do nothing to stop it.

                - Lillian Michiko Blakey

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


PRINTS TODAY: 2012 showcases art works by 22 printmakers from Ontario and Québec who are members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. On view from April 3 – 27, the exhibition brings together artists from different cultural backgrounds and offers an overview of what is current in printmaking today. Participating artists from ONTARIO: Ed Bartram, Rudolf Bikkers, Jane Buyers, Tony Calzetta, Susan Collett, Pat Durr, Naoko Matsubara, Stu Oxley, Penelope Stewart, Otis Tamasaukas, George Walker; from QUEBEC: Paul Béliveau, Monique Charbonneau, Paul Cloutier, Catherine Farish, Carl J. Heywood, Harold Klunder, Ann McCall, Louis Pelletier, Marc Séguin, Francine Simonin, François Vincent.