Body of Work: Rea Tajiri

Body of Work: Rea Tajiri

Wednesday, May 12, Thursday, May 13, and Friday, May 14, 7:00 PM
$5 admission each night

Rea Tajiri is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker who grew up in Chicago, Illinois. After her family relocated to Los Angeles, Tajiri earned her BFA and MFA in Post-Studio Art from the California Institute of the Arts. Poetic, subtly layered and politically engaged, her work advances the exploration of forgotten histories, multi-generational memory, landscape and the Japanese American experience. She is a recipient of a 2020 Leeway Transformation Award and a current recipient of an Independence Public Media Foundation Projects grant. Prior to this, she has received support from a Pew Artist Fellowship, a Rockefeller Intercultural Media Fellowship, an NEA Visual Arts Fellowship as well as grants from ITVS, the New York Foundation for the Arts, NYSCA and a Temple University VP Arts Award. In 2019, Tajiri received a Fogo Island Arts Residency and in 2018 a residency at Banff Center for the Arts. Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the Film Media Arts Department at Temple University where she teaches documentary production.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 7:00 PM
Little Murders (USA, 1998, 20 min)
A darkly comic musical about the mystery of death, communication of spirits, and the redemption that comes from knowing the truth. A violent father returns to earth as a ghost and wanders the streets searching for clues to the cause of his death through his daughter, an L.A.P.D. homicide detective.

Off Limits (USA, 1988, 8 min)
Tajiri interweaves the endings of two films, Off Limits, a 1988 cop movie set in Vietnam, and Easy Rider, an iconic 1969 film revealing the hopelessness of the “American dream”. Through the layering of text and audio-visual imagery from these films, Tajiri rewrites the narrative of a Vietnamese character who was featured in the background of Off Limits. The culminating effect simultaneously examines the portrayal of Vietnam within American cinema and centers the often overlooked history and perspective of the Asian-American experience.

History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashige (USA, 1991, 32 min)
Groundbreaking and haunting, this film is a poetic composition of recorded history and non-recorded memory. History and Memory looks at the experience of the 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans who were imprisoned in U.S. Concentration Camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tajiri wanted to address the phenomena of repressed memory shrouded in silence and forgetting that occurs amongst victims of trauma.


Thursday, May 13, 7:00 PM
Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice (USA, 1993, 57 min)
​Co-Produced by Pat Saunders

This documentary chronicles the history of Yuri Kochiyama, a remarkable woman whose contributions to social change throughout the 20th century are an inspiring guide for the future. Kochiyama was a follower and friend of Malcolm X and a supporter of the Black Liberation movement, she has been involved with worldwide nuclear disarmament, the Japanese American Redress and Reparations Movement and the International Political Prisoner Rights Movement. This film captures the extraordinary vitality and compassion of Yuri Kochiyama as a Harlem-based activist, wife, mother of six children, educator and humanitarian.


Friday, May 14, 7:00 PM
Lordville (USA, 2014, 67 min)
With Lordville, Tajiri complicates her work on dislocation — this time with ownership and, more profoundly, our complicity. In 2003, Tajiri purchased a house in Lordville in upstate New York, joining 50 residents who lived in this once-booming, now literal ghost town. Conjuring the geologic, the nation, and the intimate, Tajiri walks property lines, visits residents, conducts environmental readings and genealogical research, and brings us the deep pleasures and mysteries of a relationship to place, asking: what does land ownership mean?

In addition to Lordville,Tajiri will present a sneak peak of her latest film Wisdom Gone Wild as well as documentation of Wataridori: birds of passage, a multisite installation that activated real and speculative histories of the Japanese Americans who arrived in Philadelphia from US concentration camps during World War II.


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