Clement S. Hanami
I am not the model minority. In fact, the contradictions that I embody as a Japanese American artist fuel the diverse body of work. Growing up in East Los Angeles, I was influenced as much by Chicano art and the local punk music scene as I was by my Japanese American cultural heritage. The question of identity—specifically individual identity shaped and experienced in a diverse society—is the central focus of my work. I address such issues as ethnic stereotypes presented through popular media, the way that identity is effaced or obscured through globalism and rampant consumerism, and the difficulty of remembering and retelling painful or traumatic personal and community histories. By critically engaging with technology and contemporary media, I produce work that aspires to engage viewers emotionally, provide situations that encourage candid discussion, and in doing so, reveal contemporary meaning to past histories that are personal, authentic, and interconnected.