New exhibit explores mixed-race identity — Textile-based paintings to be featured at Cal Lutheran

try arial,sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>Textile-based paintings exploring mixed-race identity, indigenous communities, colonization and globalized pop culture will be on display at California Lutheran University from June 10 through Oct. 27.

“Uchinanchu: The Art of Laura Kina” will be on exhibit in the Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture on the Thousand Oaks campus. An artist’s reception will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21.

The artwork in Kina’s new series is autobiographical. Born in Riverside in 1973 to an Okinawan father from Hawaii and a Spanish-Basque/Anglo mother, she was raised in a small Norwegian town in the the Pacific Northwest. She now lives in Chicago.

“Uchinanchu” is the term for Okinawan immigrants and their descendants from the Japanese island living in Hawaii. In her artwork, Kina combines the traditions of hand-painted Okinawan and Hawaiian motifs, traditionally female-made textiles and quilts, and contemporary westernized and American-Asian pop culture T-shirts. Using the form of a patchwork quilt as a starting point, her colorful large-scale tapestries demonstrate how the assimilation of her multiple cultures fold meticulously into one personal, yet collective, journey.

“My artwork focuses on themes of distance, belonging and cultural reclamation,” Kina explains. “Taken together, the works are about islands of diaspora and explore themes of transnational family ties and heritage tourism, mixed-ness, ethnic pride and solidarity, military and colonial histories, and current geopolitical military/environment issues in Okinawa and Hawaii.”

Kina’s work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally in venues including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Japanese American National Museum and the Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum.

She serves as the Vincent de Paul Professor of Art, Media & Design at DePaul University and as a board member of the Association for Asian American Studies. She co-founded the biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference. Kina was co-editor of the 2013 book “War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art.” She serves as the reviews editor for Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas. She also is working on an anthology to be titled “Queering Contemporary Asian American Art.”

Admission is free. The gallery is located in the Soiland Humanities Center at 120 Memorial Parkway. It is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, contact curator Rachel Schmid at [email protected] or 805-493-3697 or visit CalLutheran.edu/kwanfong.

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