(Carson, CA) – The University Art Gallery at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) presents “Unfinished Proof Ninomiya,” a collection of images that represent a year’s worth of research by Los Angeles artist Alan Nakagawa of the vast Ninomiya Photography Studio Collection at CSUDH. The exhibit runs in the University Art Gallery from May 8 to Sept 18, Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment only. Admission is free.
“Unfinished Proof Ninomiya” is the culmination of Nakagawa’s residency with CSUDH’s PRAXIS Studio combing through more than 100,000 prints and negatives in Ninomiya Photo Studio Archive, which was donated for preservation to CSUDH’s Donald R. and Beverly J. Gerth Archives and Special Collections in 2017. The Ninomiya Photo Studio was located in Little Tokyo from 1949 to 1970 and was a fixture in the Japanese American community.
“Unfinished Proof Ninomiya” will run May 8 through September 18 at the University Art Gallery, located in LaCorte Hall, A-107. The exhibit is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment only. Admission is free.
The Ninomiya Photography Studio Collection is part of the larger CSU Japanese American Digitization Project (CSUJAD) housed in CSUDH’s Gerth Archives and Special Collections, which chronicles three generations of recovered documentation of Los Angeles’ Japanese American communities, specifically focused on Japanese and Japanese American experiences in California and the incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
Nakagawa’s exhibition at the University Art Gallery comprises a series of new artwork he has created, a zine resulting from a series of workshops with PRAXIS program participants (CSUDH art students and students from Phineas Banning Senior High School), and a collaboration with The Gerth Archive to present photographs and objects from the collection.
The exhibition features multidisciplinary elements that represent a time machine peering into the past through photographs and lives of everyday people. A panorama created from historical photographs and contemporary field recordings is featured in the center of the gallery as the physical manifestation of the time machine, inviting gallery visitors to suspend their current relation with time and engage with the personal histories on view.
The exhibition will also include a series of watercolor sketches that recreate, reimagine, and recapture the Ninomiya photographs. In addition to historical photographs, Nakagawa has included carved birds, both historical objects from the archive and birds he carved that relate taxonomically to Los Angeles and conceptually to those whittled during imprisonment in the internment camps. Additionally, Nakagawa has created a transportable photo studio that will be part of the exhibition and will be used to stage a series of events inviting students and community members to have their portraits captured.
“Unfinished Proof Ninomiya” is made possible by funding from the Pasadena Art Alliance.