Exhibition Opening, "ダブル • Daburu" by Gina Ariko and Marie Okuma Johnston
Gina Ariko and Marie Okuma Johnston‘s collaborative exhibition ダブル • Daburu features oil and acrylic paintings that explore their bicultural identities and experiences between the United States and Japan. Daburu is the Japanese hepburn spelling of double, a rising identity of mixed-race Japanese. Traditionally, mixed-race Japanese have been called “hafu” or half, which only places value on the Japanese side of identity rather than embracing the entirety of a person’s experience. The title of Daburu is also a play on the double feature of the artist’s stories, identities, parallels, and bicultural experiences.
During the reception of the Emerging Artist Program in 2022, both artists had discovered they had family, childhood memories, and close ties to the City of Kitakyushu, Japan. Upon further conversation and development of a friendship, Ariko and Johnston realized they had a unique opportunity to showcase their bicultural identities and experiences of being “too Japanese” or “too American” through this collaborative exhibition at Gallery 110.
Gina Ariko’s figurative work is inspired by old family photos, at once familiar and distant, and the way these shared memories can almost start to feel like dreams. Gina loves lingering in those hard-to-grasp moments, and creates work that stirs feelings of comfort and curiosity in others. Gina also features Japanese household objects and pattern work into her paintings to highlight and share her heritage. For this exhibit, Gina is intending to paint artwork based on her street and interior photography as an homage to her feelings of belonging and homesickness from Kitakyushu, Japan. Marie Okuma Johnston’s work explores their Buddhist and Shinto spirituality and the internal conflict between their bicultural identities. Their artwork features traditional Buddhist and Shinto figures, objects, and architecture within Westernized and Modernized settings. As a way to pay homage to her childhood alternating between the U.S. and Japan, Marie’s art takes inspiration from underground art and cartooning to create feelings of playfulness and whimsy. In ダブル • Daburu, Marie’s work depicts the legends, Shrines, and Temples of Kitakyushu and the energy of the Wards of Kokura and Moji.
Gina Ariko and Marie Okuma Johnston’s exhibition ダブル • Daburu allows visitors to reflect on the ways in which we process memories and experience cultural identities. ダブル • Daburu will be on display at Gallery 110 from August 3 – September 2, 2023. Gallery hours are Thursday – Saturday from 12pm – 5pm and by appointment. Please join us for the First Thursday Art Walk on August 3, 2023 from 4-8pm.