a study of identity

6 MAY 2021 - 12 JUNE 2021


PAO Projects is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition with emerging Japanese artist, Ryoichi Nakamura. This is the artist’s first non-institutional solo show in the United States.

The show’s title, a study of identity, reflects both Nakamura’s journey over the course of this project and the public’s intended experience during the exhibition. An ongoing project for six years, this extensive body of multimedia work was first conceived after Nakamura was awarded a grant by Japan’s Pola Art Foundation in 2015, which allowed him to travel to New York and Los Angeles to conduct research for the concept. It was during this time that Nakamura experimented with a special method of photo emulsion onto brass, copper, and aluminum plate.

Working with altered historical photographs, Nakamura’s work depicts portraits of Japanese immigrants to America and Japanese-Americans from the late 1800s through mid-1900s. Many of the subjects were sent to internment camps by the US Government during WWII. Although Nakamura worked from photographs for the series, he obscured the face in each new portrait to allow viewing the works with an introspective eye as the translation of emotions would not be possible if approached as pure documentary.

At P.A.O. Projects, the exhibition will feature a dramatic display of nearly 400 portraits on metal with a selection of Nakamura’s oil on canvas works.


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Peter Augustus Owen