Artists Kuniharu Yoshida and Susu Attar, along with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) and Metro Art, created temporary construction banner artworks, we bear the fruit of our ancestors, for the Metro Center Project site in downtown Los Angeles.
As part of their process, artists asked community members to “empty their cup” and take part in arts activities and reflections. Elders shared memories of a community that intersects with multiple neighborhoods and histories, including: the Tongva Nation, citrus orchards, vineyards, Biddy Mason, Bronzeville and historic Japantown. These intimate conversations connected stories from the many cultures (First Nation, African American, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Korean, Indian and Yemeni) who historically and currently care for the land through thoughtful and experienced stewardship.
This geographic location represents an intersection of the countless people who cultivated it so it may bear fruit for all.
“[The] artwork pays homage to the roots of our collective histories—the bits and pieces that we have unearthed—and the stories that are unbeknownst to us, yet are breathing us into our futures.”
About the Artists
KUNIHARA YOSHIDA (KUNI) (b. 1984, Tokyo) is a Japanese Calligrapher, hip-hop dancer, teacher and a member of the concept-art collective, In the Attic, based in Little Tokyo. A collaborative artist, he combines sublime with traditional and contemporary art. Respect between different cultures is the foundation of Yoshida’s unique work which is designed to intertwine not just art but also audiences. He practices art as a tool to increase understanding amongst people of various backgrounds. His art has been included in Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum’s Uneo Art Exhibition with Tamayura-kai and Atelier Cosmos, he has lectured at Netflix and was artist-in-residence at Little Tokyo Service Center’s (LTSC) +LAB. His project, First Street North, won Best Documentary Short in the Asian Film Festival of Dallas.
SUSU ATTAR (b. 1982, Baghdad) believes art is a form of magic. Rooted in painting and in her experience as an Iraqi Angeleno, both Attar’s individual and communal practices explore themes including mourning, hospitality, healing and renewal. Her work across mediums often documents and reimagines struggles for self-determination, from the level of the individual to the family; from local communities to transnational diasporas. Attar’s commitment to building narratives that open up future possibilities for both individual and collective agency have led her to extend her practice to theatrical production, curating, art direction and world building. As an educator, she has produced and facilitated programs and workshops in the US and abroad, utilizing art practices to expand communal imagination. Attar is a member of SEPIA Collective and earned a BA from San Francisco State University in Painting and Conceptual Information Art.
JAPANESE AMERICAN CULTURAL & COMMUNITY CENTER is one of the largest ethnic arts and cultural centers of its kind in the US. It is a hub for Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture and a community gathering place for the diverse voices it inspires.