Jo Anne Maikawa

Region: ON Toronto
Sansei | Born 1935, Vancouver


The last ten years of my many years of teaching with the Toronto District School Board focussed on creating and disseminating anti-racist educational materials and processes. After retiring from teaching, I studied at the Toronto School of Art and completed a Visual Arts Diploma Program in 2003.  I’ve also taken courses at Central Technical School and at the Art Students’ League in NYC. I am currently a member of an artist run collective — Gallery 1313 in Toronto.

My art making has reflected my memories of growing up in Japantown, the pre-WW II community of Japanese Canadians in Vancouver, as well as of its sudden and, to a six-year-old, bewildering break-up. It has focussed on the internment of Japanese-Canadians in 1942 from a personal perspective. I was not quite seven, a third generation Japanese-Canadian, when the lives and dreams of my parents and grand-parents were shattered, their homes and businesses confiscated, their freedom lost, their community destroyed.

My work is two dimensional and water based. Texture is especially important to me. I use both art based material as well as ready-made or found material to create a variety of textured surfaces. It has involved collages of different materials at times and, at other times, scraping, layering, and charring surfaces to produce semi-abstract images and landscapes. Though much of my work in the past has been focussed on the Japanese-Canadian experience, it has often been semi-abstract, a mix of abstract and representational imagery culled from various sources, including family photos, newspaper clippings, and government documents.

When I turned 80, I decided to move beyond the thematic thrust of my past work towards working in a more process-focussed manner with materials that have special meaning to me. I’m now working with natural and manufactured materials from the Mexican state of Oaxaca in creating textured collages that express my feelings about the people and colours of Oaxaca.














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