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Jocelyn Suzuka Figueroa
July 28, 2021 11:00 am - November 14, 2021 4:00 pm
Image: Nagatoshi Satoru, archival family photo, late 1930
GHOSTS OF THE NEGATIVE: The Last Soldiers
Jocelyn Suzuka Figueroa
July 28 – November 14, 2021
Curator: Zoe Cinel
Juror: Alex Buffalohead
Artist Talk & Reception Sunday, August 1st, 3pm
GHOSTS OF THE NEGATIVE is an intimate examination of a complicated family archive: a collection of photos taken by my great-grandfather, Satoru. He was a photographer for the Japanese army during the invasion of China in World War II. His purpose in the occupation was to document the impressive might of Japan’s military for the homeland: the creation of propaganda. Instead, Japan’s subsequent loss to the United States cast a shadow of shame and disgrace over the images.
Upon his death, my great-grandfather’s archive of over 400 wartime photos was banished as a scattered heap in a forgotten dresser within a shadowed storeroom. This is where they remained for two generations.
The paintings found here bring these photographs to the light. Images from the archive are carefully painted with white primer onto a synthetic white parachute cloth. The primer appears matte, catching the light in a manner different to the cloth. Therefore, the images become visible only through a trickery of light. The white paint on the white surface obscures the subjects contained within, indicating that this is a history too shameful to speak of above a whisper.
Born in Kyoto, Japan, Jocelyn Suzuka is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on fibers, painting, and sculpture. She received a BFA from Moore College of Art and Design in 2015 and is a current MFA candidate at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her work centers on the transfer of memory through tactile objects, inherited legacies within family archives, and the generational cycle of historical trauma.
This exhibition is sponsored by the MFA Program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. The artist was selected through a jurying process by curator Alex Buffalohead.
MCAD’s master of fine arts in visual studies program is a community of makers, thinkers, researchers, and creative professionals working in a mentor-based, interdisciplinary environment. Our four-semester curriculum is designed to expand your thinking as you take advantage of the Twin Cities’ vibrant art and design scene. Students are invited to be strongly self-directed as they set personalized goals to guide each semester, as well as their overall time in the program.