Red Flower, The Women of Okinawa

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Women on 2017-03-28 19:59Z by Steven

Red Flower, The Women of Okinawa

Session Press
112 pages
Photography: Mao Ishikawa
Text: Mao Ishikawa
English Translation: Jun Sato
Design: Studio Lin, NYC
Printing: Die Keure, Brugge, BE
Color Proofing: Colour & Books, Apeldoorn, NL
Silkscreen soft cover covers and silkscreen text pages
closed 229 x 330 mm (9.02 x 12.99 inches), open 458 x 330 mm (18.03 x 12.99 inches), 3 lbs
ISBN: 978-0-692-81744-5

Mao Ishikawa

Session Press presents Red Flower, The Women of Okinawa, the first United States monograph by Okinawan photographer Mao Ishikawa. Red Flower consists of 80 b/w photographs that date from 1975 to 1977 in Koza and Kin, Okinawa, primarily from Ishikawa’s first book Hot Days in Camp Hansen by A-man Shuppan in 1982, but it also includes unpublished work from the same period. Red Flower exhibits Ishikawa’s celebration of the courageous and honest lives of women she met and befriended while working at military bars at a time when social and political tensions between the US and Japan were on high alert. It consists of five chapters of pictures, followed by her essay dedicated to the publication: girls gossiping about boys, working at bar, meeting their boyfriends at home, enjoying themselves at the beach, and their children for the future of Okinawa. Red Flower is the pivotal work for Ishikawa, since it marks the starting point of her subsequent long career as a photographer.

Her attendance of Shomei Tomatsu’s class at WORKSHOP photography school in spring 1974 seems to have had a strong influence on her style; their close association as friends and teacher/student continued till his death in 2012. Martin Parr identifies her work as ‘post-Provoke’ in The Photobook: A History Volume III (page 90), observing the strength of her photography is charged by its directness and rawness, in contrast to the stylized symbolism preferred by the previous generation of Provoke photographers. Most importantly, it is crucial to note that her work is often delivered from the result of her pure pursuit of her subject matter. Especially for this particular project, Ishikawa’s engagement to the subject was enormous; she worked as a server at the bars along with the other girls and had relationships with boys she met there for two years. Thus, her personal involvement enables her to capture the actual events and scene without theorizing or romanticizing. In Red Flower, Ishikawa reveals her very honest personal documentary in all sincerity, while still maintaining enough detachment from the subject to be able to perfectly capture the scenes with her sharp eyes.

Okinawa has been one of the most popular subjects in the history of Japanese photography, having attracted many renowned Japanese photography masters such as Tomatsu Shomei, Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Keizo Kitajima. Born and raised in Okinawa, Ishikawa is, however, the only female photographer for still vigorously making work of Okinawa (and living in Okinawa) in spite of whatever taboo or challenges she came across along the way.

Previously Ishikawa made two publications on the same subject. Her first book, Camp Hansen is not, in fact, her monograph since another photographer, Toyomitsu Higa took the photos in the second half of the book. Also, it was regretfully banned due to claims from two girls in the book shortly after it was released, so it is extremely rare and expensive. The other volume of Ishikawa’s Okinawa work was published on the occasion of her exhibition at Yokohama Civic Art Gallery Azamino in 2013. Since it mainly functions as reference to her general work, and it was laid out with large white framing surrounding smaller format photos, it loses the boldness, honesty and urgency which are characteristic of her work. Red Flower features full-bleed images in a large format with intense black and white printing, and successfully makes the original lively spirit and tension of Ishikawa’s legendary Camp Hansen work available again for wider public appreciation.

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When saying you’re black and being black are two different things

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2017-03-28 18:45Z by Steven

When saying you’re black and being black are two different things

The Washington Post

Baz Dreisinger, Associate Professor of English
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York

Rachel Dolezal faced a backlash when it was revealed in 2015 that the NAACP and Black Lives Matter activist was not black, as she presented herself to be, but in fact white. (Colin Mulvany/Associated Press)

Baz Dreisinger, a professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is the author of “Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture” and “Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World.”

Back in 2015, I was fascinated by the scandal that swirled around Rachel Dolezal, the NAACP and Black Lives Matter activist who turned out to be a once-blonde white woman from Montana passing herself off as black. Dolezal went further than that: She said she wasn’t posing as black but actually was black — because she feels black. I made the rounds on the talk shows at the time, having published a book about the cultural history of such reverse racial passing, and avidly tried to explain notions of transraciality.

Now Dolezal has published a memoir, “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World.” I hesitated to review it. Expending intellectual energy on one woman’s racial hoax seems a luxury of the pre-Trump era. And Dolezal’s increasingly bizarre story seems more tabloid fodder than a subject for serious analysis. But then I read her book, and the educator in me felt compelled to speak out. Dolezal has written an important book, one that belongs on syllabi as a case study in the mechanisms of white liberal racism. She has provided a teachable moment to expose the dodgy ideologies she may not even realize she’s espousing…

Read the entire article here.

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Black on the Rainbow

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Papers/Presentations, United States, Women on 2017-03-28 17:35Z by Steven

Black on the Rainbow

Pageant Press
254 pages

Dorothy Lee Dickens

This book tells the story of Hilda, a lovely Negro girl, who is given a choice of “passing” as white or remaining loyal to her race.

Read the entire book here.

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Creighton hosts two-day event to commemorate Loving v. Virginia ruling

Posted in Articles, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-28 15:46Z by Steven

Creighton hosts two-day event to commemorate Loving v. Virginia ruling

News Center
Creighton University, Omaha Nebraska

Mat Johnson

Race. Identity. Relationships. Power. These were the main themes in last week’s two-day event, “50 Years of Loving: Seeking Justice Through Love and Relationships,” hosted by Creighton University’s 2040 Initiative and the Werner Institute. More than 150 people participated in the event.

Loving v. Virginia is a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. The case involved Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Loving, a black woman. They were charged in Virginia with the felony of miscegenation – or mixing races – and were told their marriage was invalid.

Creighton’s two-day event kicked off last Thursday with a talk by Mat Johnson, author of the 2015 book Loving Day. Semi-autobiographical in nature, Johnson read passages from his book and spoke about his own upbringing and struggles with race and identity…

Read the entire article here.

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Imagine the world classifying Barack Obama as a white man as a result of his white heritage? It would never happen.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-03-28 15:30Z by Steven

America’s “one-drop rule” historically identified any individual with a single black ancestor as black, and therefore inferior. And while most of us these days know that “racial purity” is as grounded in reality as mermaids and unicorns, the “one-drop” idea continues. Harvard University psychologists found that mixed-race individuals are still perceived as belonging to the racial group of their “lower-status” parent. Imagine the world classifying Barack Obama as a white man as a result of his white heritage? It would never happen.

Claire Hynes, “Rachel Dolezal’s pick-your-race policy works brilliantly – as long as you’re white,” The Guardian, March 27, 2017.

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