Unfinished Proof Ninomiya/Alan Nakagawa

California State University Domingues Hills - University Art Gallery - 1000 E Victoria St, Carson, CA 90747
May 11, 4 PM - 6 PM — ends Sep 18, 2019
The University Art Gallery at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) presents “Unfinished Proof Ninomiya,” a collection of artworks that represent a year’s worth of research by Los Angeles artist Alan Nakagawa in the vast Ninomiya Photography Studio Collection at CSUDH. Nakagawa recently completed his investigation of the Ninomiya Photo Studio Archive, more than 100,000 prints and negatives preserved in CSUDH’s Donald R. and Beverly J. Gerth Archives and Special Collections in 2017. “Unfinished Proof Ninomiya” consist of images from the Ninomiya Photo Studio, a business located in Little Tokyo from 1949 to 1970 and a fixture in the Japanese American community.
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. It is comprised of photographs and ephemera chronicling three generations of recovered documentation of Los Angeles’ Japanese American communities. The collection is specifically focused on Japanese and Japanese American experiences in California and the incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
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 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.