Bemis Center hosts new exhibits exploring heritage and health

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Photo courtesy of Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
The Bemis Center for the Contemporary Arts is hosting two new exhibits that explore Japanese heritage and the United States healthcare crisis.

Will Patterson
A&E Editor

The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is hosting two new exhibits at their downtown location near the KANEKO-UNO library. The exhibits, “beginning.breaking.rapid: Kenji Fujita & Barbara Takenaga” and “Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying,” feature separate artists and themes.

The first exhibit, “beginning.breaking.rapid,” features art from Kenji Fujita and Barbara Takenaga, both of who come from Japanese heritage. While Fujita is a first-generation New Yorker, Takenaga is a Nebraska native from North Platte.

The title “beginning.breaking.rapid” is the translation of the Japanese phrase “Jo-ha-kyū.” This phrase is a commonly used concept in traditional Japanese arts, and it essentially means that artistic methods should have a slow start, build up speed and have a quick finish. Both Fujita and Takenaga embody this technique to some degree in their artwork.

Fujita’s sculptures are crafted from ordinary household items such as cardboard, aluminum foil, wood and paint. Fujita’s work deals entirely with 3-D concepts.

Takenaga’s paintings illustrate depth and vastness on contained, flat surfaces. All her displayed pieces are abstract depictions. This exhibit has been an opportunity for the artist to display her art in her home state which has had a lasting impact on her technique.

Fujita and Takenaga both live in New York, where they practice their craft.

Farther inside of the gallery space is the Bemis Center’s second exhibit, “Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying.” Featuring eight artists, this collection explores the current healthcare crisis unraveling in the United States.

The artwork of “Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying” is very direct toward viewers. Most of the artwork poises direct questions to gallery guests about how health, inequality and wealth impact our day-to-day lives.

One of the exhibit’s art pieces by Sondra Perry features a blue exercise bike with digital screens towering over it. The screens depict a digitalized self portrait of the artist and asks viewers to consider how discrimination negatively impacts health.

Both exhibits will be on display through June 2, 2018.

The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. On Thursday, the gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Gallery admission is free to the public.

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