“Shimomura Crossing the Delaware,” 2011. The painting is part of artist Roger Shimomura’s series American Knockoffs. (Image courtesy of the artist.)
Shimomura’s paintings are featured as part of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery exhibition Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter (in Washington DC through October 14). Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff, a solo show, is on view online via Kansas City’s Byron Cohen Gallery through the end of this month.
For decades, in his prints, paintings, and performances, Shimomura has explored Asian-American stereotypes and issues of ethnic identity with pop culture in the mix.
Shimomura’s grandparents were from Japan, but he was born in Seattle, Wash. When he was a toddler, he and his family were sent to Camp Minidoka, an internment camp in Idaho. It was one of ten camps where Japanese Americans were relocated during World War II. ”It was 1998, I think, when my New York dealer asked everyone in her gallery to try to recall their first 10 memories of life,” says Shimomura. “And mine were all in the camp.”