Osamu James Nakagawa, ‘map’, 2001-2009, Pictura Gallery

Series: Remains

The Remains series consists of forty-six images accompanied with both Japanese and English text. The images are photographic depictions of the remnants and consequences of the Battles of Okinawa and Saipan that visually demonstrate how these elements of the past quietly remain today. Each image is triggered by a distinct word written in both Japanese and English. This references not only the convention of carved stone war memorials but also my own attempts to navigate the gaps in translation of cultural perceptions of images and words. The Remains series seeks to build a relationship between culturally distinctive signifiers, both literal and visual. It is my hope to bridge the inherently different interpretations of these historical events through a cross-cultural lens.

About Osamu James Nakagawa

Osamu James Nakagawa explores his biculturalism through photographs that grapple with cultural histories and alienation. Nakagawa was born in the United States but moved to Japan as a child, and to Texas as a teenager. “I am a stranger in all the places my family could call ‘home,’” the artist has said. “The duality and conflict of this experience is the motivation for my photographic exploration, and I am personally invested in finding points of connection and disconnection between actual and constructed memories on both cultural and familial levels.” Nakagawa has captured images as diverse as fields in the American Midwest, rainy urban street scenes, and socially charged sites in Japan. In his series of photos of the Okinawa islands, Nakagawa depicts sublime seaside scenery, saturating their colors in post-production. The images suggest the weight and distortion of his memories of and associations with Japan, but also address the site as a World War II battleground.

American, b. 1962