To better understand my affinity for paradox, I was compelled to examine my past. I began working with family photographs, combined with text–based artifacts, to express a long silenced family story through simple in–camera photographs. This work evolved to prompt conversations about racism, hysteria and economic exploitation in America. I came to better understand my family’s (and my own) shame and to believe that our culture’s inability to live with paradox resulted in perilous polarities.

In 1942, Executive Order 9066 brought untold distress to all Japanese Americans living on the west coast. My family experienced the economic loss of property, the shame and indignation of incarceration, and the task of re–integration into American society after release from the WWII concentration camps. How did the Japanese Americans resolve such a travesty of justice? They have a saying for this — shikata ga nai — it cannot be helped. But there is another saying — gaman — persevere and stay silent, that distinguished the tolerance of their losses. The polarities we see today are caused by an inability to coexist with diversity. History is an art not a science. As an art based in the written record, it relies on the power of words to render the truth. The intent of this project is to commemorate my unheard family story and bring its kindred emotions to light through art. Balancing Cultures posits accepting paradox as an essential ingredient for a tolerant and plural tomorrow — the only positive tomorrow possible.

- Jerry Takigawa

This series is a Portfolio Award Winner in the 2018 San Francisco Bay International Photo Show.

Jerry Takigawa is an independent photographer, designer, and writer. He is a co–founder and creative force behind the Center for Photographic Art’s PIE Labs. He received the Imogen Cunningham Award in 1982, the Clarence J. Laughlin Award in 2017, and CENTER’s Curator’s Choice Award in 2018. His work is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, and the Monterey Museum of Art. He studied photography with Don Worth at San Francisco State University and received a degree in art with an emphasis in painting. He is a past president of People in Communication Arts, Monterey, CA, and the Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA, and is a former trustee of the Monterey Museum of Art. Takigawa lives and works in Carmel Valley, California.

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