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February 9 ~ March 9, 2006
Opening Reception 2/10 (Fri.) 6 ~ 8 pm

TENRI CULTURAL INSTITUTE and its exhibition director Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos announce the exhibition Chimaera guest-curated by Kóan Jeff Baysa. The chimaera is a mythological creature with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent; in medical parlance, it is an individual with a diverse genetic constitution. This exhibition is inclusive of artists with mixed cultural and ethnic backgrounds whose phenotypes celebrate hybrid vigor and whose artworks evince and celebrate diversity. The artists themselves and their personae are as much part a of this exhibition as their paintings, photographs, and drawings. To foreground their art and backgrounds over their names, they are introduced inn this introduction only by their last and first initials and not in alphabetical order, but the gallery labels will fully identify the individual artists and their works. More extensive materials on them will be found in the artist binders in the gallery, as well as their exhibitions catalogs. Those artists present at the reception will be identified with floral garlands, called leis, shipped in from Hawaii.

Kira Lynn Harris is of native American and African American descent, born in Los Angeles. She creates conceptual/perceptual art about light and space, is an alumnus of the Whitney Independent Study Program, an artist in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem, and part of the landmark "Freestyle" exhibition there.

Nicole Awai's last name suggests Japanese ancestry, but she states that it is likely an adaptation of a Chinese name, since she has ancestors from China who settled in her birthplace, Trinidad. Her "Specimens from Local Ephemera" series chart psychological landscapes that are derived from mass produced, sometimes touristic gee-gaws and toys that are invested with cultural significance.

Shingo Francis is American-Japanese and splits his time between Tokyo and New York. His works address light and shadow in Japanese culture as well as his frequent trajectories between destinations in Asia and America. He has had several solo exhibitions in Japan, and is doing notable work with his family foundation.

Kanoa W. H. Baysa is Caucasian-native American Indian-Filipino, born in New Mexico, and raised in Hawaii. He participated in the London Biennale with a remarkable film projector sculpture/installation, and his skills as a fabricator and conceptualist take him around the world for work in major museums.

Mustafa Maluka is an artist born in Cape Town, South Afrika, who has Maori heritage. He has lived in Amsterdam and Helsinki, and is an alumnus of the Art Omi International Artists Colony. By displacing complacency and erasing racism with hybridity in his paintings, he introduces beauty in hand with sharp critique.

Kira Lynn Harris, Harlem 1 +2, 2003, Digital C print, mounted on Sintra, 36' x 36'

Nicole Awai, Ratified Inertia, 2005, Mixed Media


Siona Benjamin is a Shephardic Jew born in Bombay, educated in Zoroastrian and Catholic schools, and is now an American artist. Her work is inspired by Muslim and Hindu paintings that often includes Jewish iconography. Addressing issues of locating the concept of home, she broaches the issues of cultural borderlands, celebrating diversity.

Lisa C. Soto is of Jamaican and Puerto Rican heritage, and just completed an artist residency in the Dominican Republic. Her painting series that depicting island nations evince her heritage; while some abstract works are done with a substractive paper process. She has lived in Switzerland and Holland.

Marlon Sagana Ingram is African-American-Filipino, claiming a Filipino soul and an African mind. He is both a newspaper graphic artist and a freelance designer in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is included in the upcoming exhibition in Honolulu, "Alimatuan" of talented emerging artists of Filipino heritage from across the US.

Mequitta Ahuja is of South Asian Indian and African-American parentage, was born in Grand Rapids, and demonstrates heterogeneity and complex identity by combining contrasting painting styles on the same canvas. She was recently in the NY exhibition "d'Afrique d'Asie" that examined the links between Africa and Asia through contemporary art dialogues.

Saya Woolfalk has an African-American-Caucasian father and a Japanese mother. Her work was included in the last Greater New York exhibition at PS1, and examines systems of representation for sex, race, and gender in drawings, paintings, installations, and video. She is currently a Fulbright Fellow in Brazil.


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