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Why the Arts Are Essential: Artist Talk with Chisao Hata

August 27, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

The Portland Chinatown Museum presents the fourth and final program in their Artist Talk series highlighting PNW Asian American artists working in the intersections of community, history, and culture. Join them on Saturday, August 27 at 1:00 p.m. to hear from performing artist and community organizer Chisao Hata.

Hata will discuss how exposure to the arts and arts education is a mandatory requirement at any age, any profession or any position we have in life. The arts root us in our humanity and teach us to understand ourselves, our relationships and the world we live in.

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As a performing artist, community organizer and global citizen artist, Chisao’s original chore-poems weave issues of identity and social justice. Her performances in Hiroshima, Japan, Cuba, New Mexico, Ontario, Oregon and Poston, Arizona are rooted in Japanese American history. Her collaborative performance piece GAMBATTE: An American Legacy, expresses stories of dispossession, resilience and humanity. She is an Oregon Humanities Conversation Leader, Vanport Mosaic Stories in Movement Co-director, and Organizing Artist for Change at Dance Exchange in Takoma Park, Maryland. Chisao Hata is currently the Creative Director of Living Arts at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Erika Huffman.

REMEMBER US is a visual prayer for 4,000 Japanese Americans who were held in captivity in 1942 at the now Expo Center in Portland. The 30 foot long rope portrays the names of those from the Portland area that were held and ultimately moved to incarceration camps across the country.

My inspiration for this project comes from my own background as a third generation Japanese American with a legacy in Oregon’s history. My grandparents settled in Hood River and my mother became the first Japanese American nurse in the state. My parents were married in Poston, Arizona, one of the ten concentration camps in America. Additionally my inspiration for REMEMBER US came from an African saying, “we all die two deaths, one when we leave our body and two when our names are no longer called.”

PCM’s new Artist Talk series is made possible by a grant from Neighbors West/Northwest and the City of Portland, Office of Community & Civic Life.