Jerry Takigawa Still Life Photos @ RICPA

Balancing Cultures

Still Life Photographs by Jerry Takigawa

Depicting Hidden Family History of Japanese Internment Camps in America During World War II

September 20 – October 12, 2018

Opening reception on Gallery Night, September 20 from 5-9pm


The exhibition, Balancing Cultures, reexamines the dark legacy of Japanese internment in the United States during World War II in a series of staged still-life photographs. To accomplish this narrative, Jerry Takigawa overlaps personal family portraits with significant artifacts, documents and personal effects to tell the story of a group of Americans that were treated as anything but during a period of hysteria, racism and economic exploitation. The images, he said, give voice to a long-silenced family story. One that he hopes will serve as a reminder of the injustices that can result from those sentiments.

“Polarity is caused by an inability to live with diversity. The intent of this project is to commemorate the unheard family story and bring its kindred feelings to light through art,” said Takigawa.

Takigawa, of Monterey, Calif., will attend the opening reception of Balancing Cultures on September 20. To learn more about his work, please visit

The show will run concurrently with a Juried Members Exhibition that examines historical and familial memory. (By Emily Stoermer)

Balancing Cultures – Jerry Takigawa

Balancing Cultures is a photography project by independent photographer, designer and writer Jerry Takigawa, who sought and found meaning, catharsis, and resonance through the examination and expression of his family history and of the Japanese American diaspora. This collection of images shares Takigawa’s personal interpretations of the emotions, insights, and collective acceptance of the social injustice never expressed by his immigrant grandparents and American-born parents. Balancing Cultures gives voice to a long-silenced family story.

In 1942, President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 brought untold distress to all Japanese Americans living on the west coast of America. Families and individuals experienced the economic loss of property, the shame and indignation of incarceration without due process of law, and the humiliating task of reintegration into American society after being released from the WWII concentration camps. How did the Japanese Americans realize a resolution to this travesty of justice? A Japanese cultural saying, “shikata ga nai”—it cannot be helped—embodied their willingness to tolerate the shame. Still, it was “gaman”—to persevere and stay silent—that more accurately characterized their resilience to return home and start over.

History is not a science but an art. As an art based in the written record, it relies on the power of words to render the truth. But while words have the power to transform events and people, the visual arts have equal—perhaps greater—power to shape our thinking. Author David Brooks said, “If true racial reconciliation is achieved in this country, it will be through the kind of deep spiritual and emotional understanding that art can foster. You change the world by changing peoples’ hearts and imaginations.” There is no scientific or genetic basis for race—race and racism are social constructs. It’s time we consider how race is an unholy expedience we sanction that leads to labels, judgment, and separation. Awareness is the first step to a plural society and true belonging.

Artist Bio - Jerry Takigawa

Jerry Takigawa is an independent photographer, designer, and writer. He studied photography with Don Worth at San Francisco State University and earned a degree in art with an emphasis in painting. In 1982 he received the Imogen Cunningham Award, followed by the Clarence J. Laughlin Award in 2017 and CENTER’s Curator’s Choice Award in 2018.

Jerry is the founder and creative force behind the Center for Photographic Art’s PIE Labs. His work has been widely exhibited, and is held in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Monterey Museum of Art and the Library of Congress. Takigawa lives and works in Carmel Valley, California.