a study of identity

6 MAY 2021 - 5 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.

Working with altered historical photographs, Nakamura’s work depicts portraits of Japanese immigrants to America and Japanese-Americans who were sent to internment camps by the US Government during WWII. In each of the new portraits, the face is obscured in a different manner to demonstrate the range of impact, both physically and emotionally, that the experience had on the individual subject. The show’s title, a study of identity, reflects both Nakamura’s journey over the course of this project and (as is the artist’s intention) the public’s experience viewing 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.

At PAO Projects, the exhibition will feature a dramatic display of nearly 400 portraits on metal with a selection of Nakamura’s oil on canvas works. A zine will be published to mark the opening of the exhibition and made available for purchase online and at the gallery.


Ryoichi Nakamura was born in 1982 in Tokyo, Japan. His work has been featured in several solo and group exhibitions, including “Immigrant”, KOKI ARTS, Tokyo, Japan (2020); "Past, Present, Future-Like Imaging a Constellation", Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2019); " Leavings: Four Studies in Anti-Portraiture" Ildiko Butler Gallery at Fordham University, New York, New York  (2019); "Parallel Lives: Chicago", Zhou b Art Center, Chicago, Illinois (2016); “Japan Congo”, Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia (2011).

Nakamura’s work is included in the collection of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, Washington).


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Peter Augustus Owen