Noren for +LAB Little Tokyo in partnership with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (2018)

The Little Tokyo Noren series is inspired by the Japanese concept of Omotenashi, a sense of pride in anticipating and fulfilling the needs of a guest, and Noren, Japanese fabric hung most commonly in doorways to mark a boarder as well as protect the internal space from the elements. I began to think about borders as conceptual lines, as barriers between families and community, and also as markers of entry points into spaces of hospitality.

The color portraits are of current residents of Little Tokyo and the b&w’s are former residents courtesy of Mike Murase and his beautiful book Little Tokyo: One Hundred Years in Pictures. These works were made in collaboration with calligrapher Kuniharu Yoshida @kuni_rhythm. The words read 尊 Kei /Toutoi (Precious) 絆 Kizuna (Bond) #ltair

The noren were displayed along the backside of the First Street North historical block, which is a plot of land at the center of Little Tokyo’s struggle for preservation. For more info on First Street North visit Sustainable Little Tokyo.


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+LAB Events

As part of my residency at +LAB, I collaborated with local artists whose works explore themes relating to identity, place and hospitality. The events aimed to instigate explorations of community relationships that are not in reaction to vulnerability, uplift place-based storytelling from an international point-of-view, and create a context for community to share space—and of course, food!

Tea Afar //created by conceptual artist April Banks

Tea Afar is a nomadic storytelling experience that shares traditions and rituals across borders. Over tea, we tell stories about one country. Through storytellers, a tea master, photography, music, and food, we'll take a full sensory international journey. Tea Afar: Jordan was held in the lush James Irvine Japanese Garden at the JACCC in Little Tokyo in collaboration with Susu Attar and Ramy Eletreby.

For more info visit Tea Afar

Food on First: DIY Art + Film Workshop with Tina Takemoto and Here//Now: Place-making Workshop with Allison Yasukawa