By Isabella Haro
20 AVPA visual artists from The Culver City High School Academy of Visual and Performing Arts began an artist-in-residency program with Janne Larsen in association with acclaimed Center Theatre Group sponsored by Front and Center. The program kicked off with a bang this year with a traditional tea ceremony as the inaugural class took place at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles. Within the museum, students were able to experience the impactful historical accounts of the history of Japanese Americans before, during, and after their internment in World War II in an exhibition called, Common Ground. The museum visit to JANM provides the historical context surrounding the script chosen for this year’s program, Question 27, Question 28 written by contemporary playwright, Chay Yew. The students were also able to view a part of the state-wide series of exhibitions known as “Pacific Standard Time”. Transpacific Borderlands examines the experiences of artists of Japanese ancestry born, raised, or living in Latin America or predominantly Latin American neighborhoods of Southern California.
One of the most exciting and unique aspects of the trip to JANM was the experience participating in the tea ceremony, during which the beautiful art of the ritual of preparing matcha green tea was displayed in silent reverence by all who witnessed it. Junior AVPA artist, Amalia Camey. When asked about her thoughts on the experience, stated, “I was truly moved by the delicacy of their movements, everything was so perfect and choreographed. I was amazed”. Students were given a sweet chestnut pastry before the green tea, an ancient practice that balanced the flavors and experiences of the tasting that followed the ceremony.
During the 10-week CTG artist-in-residency program, Academy art students will be creating a large-scale paper sculpture in tandem to learning about Japanese-American history by examining and discussing the script, with the wall sculpture being comprised of those pieces for which the students have little to no care or regard, or articles they find to be off-putting or offensive. It is all of these pieces of normally negative art that will be remade and come together to form a massive whole greater than the sum of the papers from which it was born. The culminating project will be displayed early 2018.
1) AVPA Artists with their Japanese tea ceremony hostesses.
2) More AVPA Artists Experience Japanese Tea Ceremony
3) Janne Larsen with AVPA Artists
4) Drinking Green Tea After Ceremony
5) Amalia and Isabella at The Japanese American National Museum
6) Xiomara and Grace reflecting on the artifacts at JANM
7) AVPA Artists Inside JANM’s “Common Ground” exhibition
8) Pacific Standard Time at JANM, “Transpacific Borderlands” Installation by Erica Kaminishi