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5 contemporary Japanese & Asian-American artists go Beyond the Wall

This graffiti exhibition focuses on the Asian experience in America

LiFTED | Sherrie Yip | 24 May 2022


Hip Hop has often been described as a lifestyle or even a philosophy on life. It isn’t simply a music genre, but a modern culture and a form of art - be it fashion, dance, or even a graffiti piece. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida is now featuring five contemporary Japanese and Asian-American artists in their latest street art exhibition Beyond the Wall, running from now until September 25. The highly-anticipated exhibition focuses on the unique stories and inspirations behind the art pieces by the five artists: Boy Kong, Casey Kawaguchi, Elena Øhlander, Juuri, and Hiromi Mizugai Moneyhun.

Boy Kong, a multimedia artist of Chinese and Vietnamese heritage, came up with ideas from folk art and the surrealism of ukiyo-e, a Japanese term meaning pictures of the floating world. He will be exhibiting his inspirations through his unique style of neon animals in the exhibition.

Casey Kawaguchi hopes to address his Japanese-American identity creatively through depictions of the recurring mixed-race female character from his previous works. Drawing his ideas from comic books and Japanese culture, his works are relatively simple and balanced, using only red or yellow with the overall black and white palette.

Asian-American artist Elena Øhlander will investigate issues surrounding Japanese cultural preservation and historical memory, such as identity, individuality, gender issues, and social justice. Through contrived and surreal scenarios, she relies heavily on symbolism in her work. She will also be using comic Asian female figures and the psychology of colors to aid her message.

Tokyo-based artist Juuri will be featuring her colorful figure-driven works, inspired by traditional Japanese art and the stylistic lens of modern fashion photography. And finally, Hiromi Mizugai Moneyhun, the Kyoto-born artist raised in Florida will be combining Japanese kirigami with contemporary art culture, creating painstakingly fine cut paper pieces.

The Beyond the Wall exhibition should be of interest to anyone who loves Asian culture, Hip Hop, and graffiti.

More information on Beyond the Wall can be found here. Check out a symposium with the artists below.