Since 1969, Roger Shimomura (born 1939) has lived in Lawrence, Kansas, where he has served as an art professor at the University of Kansas. As a painter, printmaker, and performance artist, Shimomura has focused particular attention on the experiences of Asian Americans and the challenges of being “different” in America.
He knows well the pain and embarrassment associated with xenophobia. As a small child during World War II, he and his family were relocated from their home in Seattle to a Japanese American internment camp in Idaho. Having trained as an artist at the University of Washington and Syracuse University, Shimomura creates work that often pivots on the racist stereotypes that have been used to characterize Asian Americans.
The five paintings featured in this gallery were all created in the last two years. Each is a type of self-portrait in which his own likeness takes center stage. Whether fighting popular caricatures or portraying himself as someone else, Shimomura wishes to reflect on the absurdity associated with such caricatures. Both humorous and poignant, these paintings reflect the artist’s long interest in the status of Asian Americans within American society.
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