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Super Buddahead

Super Buddahead
Usage Conditions Apply
Alternate Title
Roger Shimomura Self-portrait
Artist
Roger Shimomura, born 1939
Sitter
Roger Shimomura, born 1939
Date
2012
Type
Print
Medium
Lithograph
Dimensions
Image: 74.9 × 25.4 cm (29 1/2 × 10")
Sheet: 85.2 × 33.2 cm (33 9/16 × 13 1/16")
Topic
Costume\Dress Accessory\Eyeglasses
Imaginary
Costume\Outerwear\Cape
Cartoon
Self-portrait
Roger Shimomura: Male
Roger Shimomura: Visual Arts\Artist\Painter
Portrait
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Copyright
© 2012, Roger Shimomura
Object number
NPG.2017.24
Exhibition Label
Now retired, Roger Shimomura spent his career as a professor at the University of Kansas. As a painter, printmaker, and performance artist, he continues to focus his artwork on the experiences of Asian Americans and the obstacles they face. When Shimomura was a small child during World War II, he and his family (all American citizens of Japanese descent) were relocated from their home in Seattle to a Japanese American internment camp in Idaho. His work often addresses that experience, as well as the racist stereotypes used to characterize Asian Americans. Shimomura creates self-portraits as a way to investigate his own identity vis-à-vis popular imagery. Here, he depicts himself as Superman, flying through the air. Noting that his image interrogates "whether Superman must be Caucasian to be complete," he also explains that the "term buddha-head was a World War II term used by the Japanese American soldiers among themselves."
Ahora retirado, Roger Shimomura fue profesor de la Universidad de Kansas durante toda su vida laboral. Su obra en los campos de la pintura, el grabado y el performance se ha centrado en las experiencias de los asiático-americanos y los obstáculos que enfrentan. Cuando era niño, durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, él y su familia (todos ciudadanos americanos de ascendencia japonesa) fueron desplazados de su hogar en Seattle a un campa- mento de reclusión para japoneses-americanos en Idaho. En su obra aborda esta experiencia y los estereotipos racistas con que se caracteriza a los asiático-americanos. Shimomura usa el autorretrato para explorar su identidad en relación con las imágenes de la cultura popular. Aquí se representa como Superman, volando por los aires. Observando que la imagen cuestiona "si Superman debe ser caucásico para ser completo", el artista explica que "buddhahead era un término que usaban los soldados japoneses- americanos entre ellos mismos durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial".
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery