Asian Improv Arts Midwest Presents 思考回路 / Shikou Kairo: Patterns of Thou

Asian Improv Arts Midwest Presents 思考回路 / Shikou Kairo: Patterns of Thou

More About Asian Improv Arts Midwest Presents 思考回路 / Shikou Kairo: Patterns of Thou

Asian Improv Arts Midwest (AIRMW) is pleased to present the exhibition
“思考回路/Shikou Kairo: Patterns of Thought” at the Hairpin Arts Center, 2810 N. Milwaukee Ave., as part of the Chicago / Obihiro Artist Exchange. “思考回路 / Shikou Kairo: Patterns of Thought” opens with a one week solo presentation of Chicago-based calligrapher Hekiun Oda, followed by a two-person presentation of Obihiro artists Daisaku Ueno and Masanori Umeda. Sound artist Hiroshi Mehata also joins the roster to record an album incorporating the local soundscape of the Tokachi area.

During the exhibit, AIRMW will also present a variety of public presentations: artists talks, calligraphy and tea ceremony workshops, performances by Tsukasa Taiko, Shubukai and Toyoaki Shamisen and local performance artists and musicians of the Japanese diaspora. The exhibition and events are FREE to the public. For a complete schedule and exhibition hours go to

The three-week exhibition featuring artists from Japan and Chicago to facilitate dialogue about the artistic and intellectual approach of post-war, new immigrant generations of Japanese within the context of contemporary art. Chicago, as a resettlement city following the end of World War II, is inevitably rooted in the histories of internment. The artists of AIRMW however, are part of the community of post-war immigrants where identity is more inherently defined through the bicultural lineage of language and globalization in lieu of the often didactic exploration of the socio-political grievances of WWII. Within the arts, this experience manifests itself through the context of aesthetics. The pictorial diegesis of works is a presentation of culture through the particular sensibilities of Japanese aesthetics.

The exchange project was developed to expand this conversation highlighting the importance of cultural aesthetics as part of maintaining the artistic integrity of this new generation of the Japanese and Japanese American artists. It also works to cultivate the international dialogue between Chicago and Japan, maintaining the global cultural perspective that is integral to the landscape of contemporary art. The inaugural exchange participants were calligrapher Natsuki Kubo (Sapporo) and Kioto Aoki (Chicago/AIRMW). In May 2018, Kubo did a collaborative live performance at Links Hall for AIRMW’s “Beyond the Box” series with AIRMW’s Tatsu Aoki, Kioto Aoki, Fujima Yoshinojo and cellist Jamie Kempkers. In July, Aoki went to Obihiro to present a solo photography exhibition. She also organized a community darkroom space above the gallery, in collaboration with local photographer Souda Seijiro.

For the 2019 Japan iteration of the exchange, Kioto returns to Obihiro in June to create a pinhole photography series about local community members, making cameras using materials specific to each participant to photograph their workspace. Kiyomi Negi, an illustrator, graphic designer, and fellow AIRMW member travels with Kioto to create an illustration-based narrative piece; joined by sound artist Hiroshi Mehata who will be taking sounds from Obihiro to make new work to perform in Chicago in July. Both Kiyomi and Kioto’s projects will be released as a separate artist books to be distributed during the Hairpin exhibition.

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Chicago’s premier practitioner of Shodo, traditional Japanese calligraphy, Hekiun Oda was born in 1963 and grew up in Kobe City, Japan, a municipality, which was known at that time for a large concentration of Shodo masters. Oda began studying Shodo at the age of five under Goun Katsura, himself a master. Oda moved to Chicago in 1990, and has held exhibitions and demonstrations at various venues, including the Japanese Cultural Institute and McHenry County College. In 2009, he established the Oda Japanese Calligraphy School and has taught more than 100 students. Oda obtained a “Shihan” – the highest rank in Shodo – in Nov. 2011 from Genshinkai, an association of calligraphers in Japan.

For Oda, Shodo is a reflection of the calligrapher's heart. He explores the beauty of this art form by re-imagining his encounters with life and nature in thin or thick lines and powerful or gentle strokes. It’s a highly intense moment when he is ready to move his brush because a stroke can’t be fixed once having been laid out. Oda’s artist vision is to create beautiful works based on his solid Shodo foundation and to share them with the public.

“Shodo is a high art that can be enjoyed by anybody regardless of your background,” Oda said. “I hope many people outside of Japan have a chance to appreciate Shodo as an art.”

Tags: shows, festivals, and fairs, art, exhibit

Event Details

Date: July 28, 2019
Time: 1:00pm - 5:00pm

Hairpin Arts Center
2810 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago IL 60618

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Asian Improv Arts Midwest
(773) 661-6361

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