Kimi Maeda (USA)
Many years ago Robert Maeda began writing a book about the modernist sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Though perhaps not the best known artist of his time, Noguchi’s work appears in a wide range of spaces and contexts both public and private: Piedmont Park’s playground in Atlanta, the relief mural of the Associated Press Building at Rockefeller Center, the giant Red Cube in New York’s Financial District, set pieces for Martha Graham, and countless lamps, tables, and stone sculptures. Having already made a name for himself as an artist, however, Noguchi voluntarily entered a Japanese American internment camp during World War II.
It was in that camp that Robert Maeda, a nine-year-old boy at the time, observed Noguchi working on his sculptures. Years later Maeda became an Asian art historian and cited that time in camp as a defining moment in his life. Although he published several articles and gave numerous lectures on Noguchi’s work and family life, his book was never completed. As dementia gradually overtook Maeda’s life, his daughter, Kimi, was inspired to take on the task he started decades ago, exploring the life of Noguchi in relation to his (and her) own personal history. Using sand as her canvas, Kimi transforms image after image, combining live feed projection of these drawings with archival footage.
Kimi Maeda is a theatre artist based in Columbia, SC whose intimate visual performances cross disciplines and push boundaries. Her ephemera trilogy is a collection of sand drawing and shadow performances that deal with memory, home, and trans-cultural identity. In 2011 she founded Belle et Bête, a puppet production and promotion company, with artist Lyon Hill. Together they produce the bi-annual Spork in Hand Puppet Slam. They also created Planet Hopping, an intergalactic puppet adventure, as well as Grime and Glory, a multimedia puppet celebration of barbecue pitmasters. Kimi received her MFA in scenic design from the University of South Carolina, her MA in Scenography from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, and her BA in studio art from Williams College. She was the recipient of the 2005 Rose Brand Award from the United States Institute of Theatre Technology and her costume design for Polaroid Stories was chosen for display in the 2007 Prague Quadrennial. She has designed sets and costumes in Columbia, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, London, and Sevilla and was a puppeteer for several years for the Columbia Marionette Theatre.
The “intimacy in Maeda’s work is touching and especially bold in its direct confrontation of both race relations and also the delicacy of memory, specifically her father’s dementia”- No Apologies Magazine (November 29, 2014)