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Find and read the sections “Art and History” and “Describing a Work of Art” in Chapter One of the textbook.
Roger Shimomura’s artwork on the left is titled, “Diary: December 12, 1941,” from An American Diary Series, acrylic painting on canvas, 1980. The series is based upon the diaries of the artist’s grandmother who came to the United States from Japan in the early 20th century. Born in Seattle, Roger Shimomura is a contemporary Japanese-American artist.
How does the artist make the picture on the left appear Japanese in style? What visual details (aspects of style) seem Japanese to you? How might we relate the style of the art to the heritage of the artist? What do you think the artist is trying to express through the art?
Now look at the image on the right. It is an an example of Ukiyo-e – a Japanese print made by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), a Japanese artist. What can you find out about Japanese prints? What is Ukiyo-e? What aspects of style resemble the painting by Roger Shimomura? Why might Shimomura choose this style for his piece?
Optional: We live now in a time of heightened xenophobia and racist reactions to the Asian-American community in the U.S. during the Covid pandemic. Feel free to add any additional comments or connections you may make between the period of WW II, Roger Shimomura’s art, and current fears, racism and misconceptions of Asian Americans in 2021.


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