Tamio Wakayama

Region: Vancouver British Columbia
Nisei | Born 1941, British Columbia
Died 2018


Tamio Wakayama is a photographer.

Artist Statement

I am a Nisei born nine months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent upheaval and displacement of my community. Much of my life and art has been devoted to coming to terms with that history. The long journey of healing and empowerment began when I left university and worked for two years with the Civil Rights Movement in the deep South followed by involvements in the anti Vietnam war protest, communities of the dispossessed in Canada, Rochdale College and the Coach House Press where I published my first book of photographs. When the tumult of the 60s ended, I went to Japan which gave me a new perspective on my past, racism and identity. Japan was a bridge that brought me back to the West Coast where my life began. In Vancouver, I became part of the explosive creativity of the revitalization of the Nikkei community which gave birth to the exhibit and book A Dream of Riches: The Japanese Canadians, 1877-1977, the Redress Movement and the Powell Street Festival. Currently my earliest work is part of a travelling exhibit and book, This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement. I am also seeking a publisher for my textual and photographic autobiography Soul on Rice: A Nikkei Narrative of the 60s. I am in the final stages of negotiations with Stanford University for the purchase of my archives.
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