Japanese artist living in Berkeley creates public works to deal with pandemic

Masako Miki of Berkeley says his focus on public art is a way to reach people from all walks of life. The Japanese artist is part of a new campaign in Oakland’s Chinatown to help communicate a rallying message.

“It’s the shapeshifter tiger,” says the artist, pointing to his design on a shopping bag. Her work is inspired by her dual identity: a Japanese woman who lives in America.

“The tiger and the snake are sacred animals in Asian cultures,” Miki says of his drawings.

She has partnered with the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce to display her work with a message on how to survive this tough time, a campaign launched this week.

“The key is to collaborate together: artists, communities and businesses. We all have to face this pandemic, ”says Miki.

His work can be seen on storefronts, including banks and bakeries. It was also screened on a building in Oakland.

“I’m really learning how we communicate, how I communicate as an artist,” Miki says she has found an effective tool to communicate through public art.

In the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco, it has nine public art installations of varying sizes.

They include a backscratcher, lips, and plants. She calls her sculptures metamorphs who are constantly evolving entities who continue to reinvent themselves by embracing dualities and celebrating new identities: self-reflection.

Miki hopes this is a theme that can connect people from all walks of life.

His work has shown itself in a way that the public has easy and free access to.

“It’s really about creating a dialogue, making that dialogue ongoing so that people hear about important issues,” says Miki.

His artwork can also be viewed for free at the Oakland Museum when it reopens from mid-June to October.

It will be displayed in the pre-ticket area.


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