In her new series, Migration, Sayaka Suzuki explores the experience of her Japanese-American emigrant identity. Her striking assemblages feature a “patchwork of indigo blues” that mimic the Japanese embroidery tradition of Sashiko, a style of functionally reinforcing denim garments in a decorative fashion. Two-fold, these “tag pieces” also connote the tags used to mark Japanese Americans upon being rallied to enter internment camps and relocated for the duration of WWII. In this way, Migration stands as a tome to the history and hardships of immigration in the United States, as well as the bravery and tragedy experienced by those who have found themselves in this new land. Throughout her work, Sayaka “often identifies with the complex psychological journey of immigrants in search of a new ground, while their hearts bleed for their native tongue.” Migration thus exhibits a synthesis of this complex duality by sharing the injustices faced by Japanese-Americans using these tags in the Sashiko style. These “mending stitches” or “little stabs,” as is the direct translation of Sashiko, serve to reconcile these histories and resonate with the profound resilience of the Japanese-American immigrant.
Sayaka earned her BFA in Glass Sculpture and Political Science from Tulane University in 2000 and her MFA in Crafts and Material Studies in 2005. She has exhibited nationally and internationally since 2007, with group exhibitions in Portugal, Korea, Italy, China, and Japan. Her work has been acquired by numerous collections, including the Douro Museum Printmaking Biennial Collection (Portugal), Capital One Headquarters (Richmond, VA), The Studio at The Corning Museum of Glass (New York), the Pilchuck Glass School (Stanwood, WA), Erskine Glass School (Paxton, MA), and the National Liberty Museum (Philadelphia, PA).
Installation view of Sacrifice of Tsuru and Kame and Tamatebako.
Installation view of Origami Blues: Fold/Unfold: Ronin, Origami Blues: Fold/Unfold: Boat, and Origami Blues: Fold/Unfold: Coat.