Corinne Okada Takara

Corinne Takara is a Bay Area artist/arts educator who creates technology integrated art projects. Her public collaborative work explores the use of modern day products to preserve cultural heritage and memory, and honors the colliding and merging stories that arise in rapidly shifting communities. The workshops Takara designs for museums, libraries, K-12 classrooms and colleges foster creative confidence; they encourage us to see ourselves as drivers of culture and technology. By engaging in maker activities taking shape in public spaces, we can share creative ideas that impact our world and increase our collective civic engagement.

TEDxLivermore: Where Are We? Who are we? Finding Our Roots & Identity in Public Art


Artist Bio for Sculptural Works:

Both elegant and mundane elements compose my sculptures: silks, food wrappers, newspapers, and plastic produce netting. The sculptures explore the pulling apart and reassembling of modern day artifacts. I am fascinated by the resulting textures and colliding and merging stories. Many of these gatherings of fragments are inspired by family stories of plantation era Hawaii in which my grandmother and father grew. Fixed in my imagination are tales of paper apple wrappers folded into kimonos for dolls and stories of blankets sewn of hundreds of tiny tobacco bags. Toy boats were made of leaves and pinwheels of flowers. Thriftiness and creativity mingled in wonderful harmony.

I often incorporate food wrappers familiar from childhood visits to Hawaii. My family was always greeted by Japanese relatives with Hawaiian leis made of Chinese snacks ("crack seed"). My work reflects on this intersection of cultures. The collage assembly also reveals a fragmented knowledge of Japanese culture filtered through the cloudy prism of generations. Scraps of modern Japan in the form of manga, wrappers and throw away containers are hand stitched and glued into my patchwork sculptures. Japan's variety of purely disposable plastic products strikes me as a fascinatingly foreign. They could only arise in a Japan jarred from the thrifty Meji Era of my family's collective memory by both war and industrialization.

By knitting together disposable cultural artifacts with the spirit of reuse preserved from earlier generations, my work muses on the evolution of cultures in their homeland and in Diaspora. I attempt to abstractly voice muted memories and pay respect to creativity born of necessity.