Karin Higa (1966-2013)

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and the Asian American Pacific Islander Arts Network (AAPIAN) present “Karin Higa: Hidden in Plain Sight” on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum, First Street and Central Avenue in Little Tokyo.

This free in-person and virtual program is the first in a two-part series that highlights the legacy of the late curator, writer, and cultural activist Karin Higa and explores the intersections of art, community and organizing in her work.

Among Higa’s many accomplishments, she was senior curator at JANM from 1992 to 2006.

Panelists include Howie Chen, curator and writer who edited “Godzilla: Asian American Arts Network”; Bruce Yonemoto, an artist who, along with his late brother Norman, worked very closely with Higa on the exhibition “Bruce and Norman Yonemoto: Memory, Matter, and Modern Romance” at JANM; and Julie Ault, editor of “Hidden in Plain Sight: Selected Writings of Karin Higa.” The panel will be introduced by Higa’s niece and recent JANM Getty intern, Rose Keiko Higa. The conversation will be moderated by writer, curator, and organizer Ana Iwataki, who worked under Higa as a JANM Getty intern.

The conversation, along with a second panel that will be held at the Hammer Museum on Sunday, Nov. 20, coincides with the publication of “Hidden in Plain Sight: Selected Writings of Karin Higa,” a substantial illustrated volume surveying Higa’s curatorial and scholarly work, which was released in October by Dancing Foxes Press.

“Karin Higa was a treasure to JANM, academia, and the entire museum field. Her dedication to Asian American art, the Japanese American experience, and Little Tokyo continues to inspire and motivate those in the arts and culture field,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO.

“For generations of artists, scholars, curators, and cultural activists, Karin Higa continues to be a powerful role model,” said Kris Kuramitsu of AAPIAN. “This conversation among her dear family, friends and collaborators will celebrate her fierce intelligence, deep generosity, and her care for the communities that she nurtured, underscoring the importance of her legacy and sharing it with new audiences.

“The AAPIAN is honored to co-organize this event with JANM marking the publication of ‘Hidden in Plain Sight,’ a truly beautiful and important book collecting some of Higa’s most influential writings, as our first public program.”

To RSVP for the in-person or virtual event, go to: https://www.janm.org/events/2022-11-05/karin-higa-hidden-plain-sight

Established in 1985, JANM promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of Downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories and strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans as well as a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture.

Since opening to the public in 1992, JANM has presented over 70 exhibitions onsite while traveling 17 exhibits to venues such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the U.S., and to several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America. For more information, visit www.janm.org or follow it on social media @jamuseum.

AAPIAN is an emergent network of self-identified Asian American Pacific Islander visual artists, curators, educators, writers, and patrons working between themselves and a broader public to build open relational platforms that affirm and give agency to the rich complexity of the AAPI experience, through the collective exploration and sharing of contemporary AAPI art practices.

Formed in response to the recent (and recurrent) rise in anti-Asian bigotry and violence during the pandemic, AAPIAN seeks to present these art practices in dialogue with past, present and future socio-political contexts, with the overarching goals of increasing visibility for the experiences and works of AAPI cultural producers, and catalyzing a more sustainable, equitable, and just national discourse on what it means to be AAPI.

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