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writing for godot

Shinpei Takeda Wants to Change the World

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Written by Mukul Khurana   
Friday, 07 April 2017 12:57

Shinpei Takeda is busy making a name for himself on an international and local level.  He can do that because he exists in three places—Germany, Tijuana (Mexico), and the U.S.—specifically, San Diego…  He has done it all.  He has made art (because that’s what he does) and he has worked in order to support his art.

Takeda is a product of Osaka (Japan) and Düsseldorf (Germany) and it shows.  Now, San Diego and Tijuana are part of his repertoire.  The international aspect of his work is obviously no coincidence.  The themes that interest him are universal in nature.  Take for instance the Alpha Decay and Beta Decay series.  Alpha Decay started the ball rolling with an art project about the survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Japan) at the end of WW II.

Beta Decay evolved organically from his first project but went in the direction of immigration, being displaced, and how we define the concept of home (certainly a huge topic internationally in our era of mass conflicts around the world—Syria comes to mind).  It has shown in the places he calls “home.”  As mentioned, that means local showings—but also showings in Mexico, Germany, and Japan.  That project consisted of installation pieces made from fiber and thread.  The show also consisted of film footage and writings.

Local sites for his works have included the New Americans Museum (Beta Decay), a mural in City Heights, and the Museum of Man among others.  The City College Gallery display last year was part of the San Diego Art Prize (a regional award for emerging artists).  Shinpei Takeda’s most recent project (billed as participatory) is exhibiting at the San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery from March 16 thru April 13, 2017 (with a reception and artist lecture on Thursday, April 6th, 2017).  FOBIA was the working title and help in staging was provided by Gallery Director Alessandra Moctezuma and Leticia Gomez Franco provided assistance in Card Design.

The participatory aspect of the project was “via one-by-one conversations with participants, artist Shinpei Takeda will explore phobias, producing from each encounter a work of art.  In an attempt to confront society’s fears all are invited to schedule a fobia consultation.”  The artist talked about his work, the process involved, and answered questions from the audience.

Asked later what really mattered to him, Takeda mentioned his AjA Project.  Started 17 years ago in the year 2000, it aims to empower youth to literally “frame” reality through the use of photography (thus reclaiming it and owning it).  The idea is to “make young adults confident enough to influence change and find the courage to define their own futures.”

Specifically, at-risk and refugee youth are easily marginalized by society.  The present political climate makes opportunities to succeed harder to come by.  Such challenges need to be identified and countered.  The vehicle chosen is the art of photography.  The belief is that photography allows for the capture of a moment in time.  Once captured visually, group discussions and reflection can take viewers further in analyzing forces that shape communities and societies.  That allows young people to focus on a vision—possibly looking into changing future outcomes.  More information about this worthwhile project can be found under www.ajaproject.org

This led naturally to talk about future projects.  Takeda informed about new works and collaborative pieces with Irma Sofia Poeter that he will debut at a showcase exhibition at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in May in La Jolla.  While the exact pieces were not discussed, it is going to be “something more political.”  This ought to be interesting…  For more information on the artist, search under www.shinpeitakeda.com and for more information for the venue (and dates), search under www.ljathenaeum.org

Mukul Khurana writes about art and culture.  He specializes on the San Diego scene in the areas of film, theater, and film festivals.  But, he has also been known to write about politics and visual arts.

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