JOCELYN SUZUKA FIGUEROA
Hafū Fiber Artist and Painter
Artist Statement: "Japanese troops invaded mainland China in the summer of 1937. This was to be the Second Sino-Japanese War. For eight years, the Japanese Imperial Army committed countless atrocities on the Chinese population. To this day, survivors still remember the fear and loss caused by the Japanese occupation. As of today, the Japanese government has not given satisfactory reconciliation to the people of China.
These paintings derive from the photographs taken during the war by my great-grandfather. Commissioned as a photographer for the Japanese Imperial Army, my great-grandfather slept and marched alongside the soldiers. He stood on occupied land while wearing the uniform of the oppressors. This history was not spoken of in my family out of shame. Only now, through distance provided by time and immigration, can I confront the ghosts within my great-grandfather's photographs and my family's proximity to wartime violence."
Artist Bio: Born in Kyoto, Japan, Jocelyn Suzuka Figueroa is a hafū fiber artist and painter. She creates plush animal dolls and ghost scroll paintings as a means to examine generational family traditions within histories altered by immigration, loss, and war. Her work, rooted in the maintenance of inherited artistic practices, stems from the belief that the foundational legacies of the past must be investigated before a home can be built for the present.