Design | Photography | Photos
Interdisciplinary-artist Alan Nakagawa was invited to become the artist-in-resident of the Temple from March 2019 to March 2020 with support from Side Street Projects, a local arts organization who secured funding from the Pasadena Art Alliance and the California Arts Council.
Nakagawa was drawn to the signage in the back of the Temple, a hand painted wood sign that documents the donation of a tea house in 1964. The tea house was re-installed at the Huntington Library and Gardens in 2011.
PHASE TWO (TBD)
We are currently writing grants, proposing a three extension of Invisible Tea House. Our intention is to expand the multi-media; research-art activation process to other facets of historic artifacts at the Temple. Currently, we are seeking support for a three expansion of the artist-in-residency. More in the future to celebrate the history of this unique post WWII Japanese American legacy.
PHASE ONE (March 2019 - March 2020)
Nakagawa started his research and soon found himself visiting the Temple on a regular basis, meeting the Sons of Gardeners, Jose Salcedo Sensei and other volunteers. Some of these interactions resulted in a podcast series of the same name, Invisible Tea House.
Here's a link to an article about this project: link
As of January 2020, here are the components of the Alan's art intervention (thus far):
1. The Invisible Tea House, we have a hashtag #invisbleteahouse
- Alan Nakagawa will spend one year as the artist-in-resident at the Pasadena Buddhist Temple with a focus on the Japanese Tea House that once was there but is now at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino. With support from local arts organizations Side Street Project and the Pasadena Art Alliance, Nakagawa will weave an inter-disciplinary portrait of history, ethnic-identity and community.
- Launching the PBT Photography Archive Project; We knew the Temple members and the greater community would have photos pertaining to the history of the tea house. A call was advertised for images and a campaign to collect pictures was launched at the 2019 OBON. Side Street Project staff was at hand for the two day festival to digitize these images for the Temples archive. They supplied the computer, scanners and staff. Special shout out to the Armory Center for the Arts for their support with the scanner.
- Ninomiya Pop Up: Paralleling the Invisible Tea House project was another art project by Nakagawa at CalState University Dominguez Hills. He had spent eighteen months researching the archives of the Ninomiya Photo Studio, once located in Little Tokyo. An exhibition of Nakagawa's art responses were on display for six months at the University Gallery and a POP UP related to the exhibition was on display at the 2019 PBT OBON. The Ninomiya POP UP was a make-believe photo studio made up of a large format camera, back drop and information on the historic studio. Obon participants were encouraged to take a selfie. If they posted it with the hashtag, they received a limited edition zine from the exhibition. Deema Aljibeh, CSUDH, solicited CSUDH staff and students to volunteer for the two-day OBON for the Ninomiya Pop Up.
- Tea Ceremony: In the past, the late Sakahara Sensei would give tea ceremony demonstrations at the OBON. This had not happened for some time now. We asked Jose Salcedo Sensei, who has continued Sakahara Sensei's practice, to resurrect this tradition at the OBON.
- Invisible Tea House Podcast link . At first, Alan thought he was interviewing temple members about the tea house but it's become much broader than that. The podcasts have collectively become an essay on post-WWII Japanese-American identity.
- The Pasadena Art Night; October 11, 2019/ 6-10 PM
- Jose Salcedo oral history; We asked Jose Salcedo Sensei to narrate the images and share anecdotes. This interview was recorded and this will become part of the Temple archive.
- Alan Nakagawa presented his sound art, "Conical Sound: Simon Rodia/Anotni Gaudi"
- Short films about Ikebana by Christo Mercado and a video art work by Alan about Tea Ceremony were screened
- There was a multi-media presentation of select images from Sakahara Sensei's Archive of the various Tea Ceremony events and the Tea House throughout the decades at Pasadena Buddhist Temple. These images were projected onto the Temple's exterior walls and in the garden where the tea house once stood. Michi Oba, Sensei's Daughter, gave Alan permission to digitize their entire photo archive, over 300 images.
- We solicited artwork from Temple members who practice art and those works were exhibited inside the Temple.
- Lastly, the annual PBT Fall Dinner took place at the same time. Delicious dinners, desserts and drinks were for sale to visitors.
- Temple Member Artist Exhibition; After the Pasadena Art Night, donated artworks were curated into an exhibition in the hallway
- Invisible Tea House: Misonodana Time Machine; 2020, February 16, 2020 @ 10AM, Inauguration of this three part art project.
- FUTURE: although technically Alan's AIR ends at the end of February, our intentions are to continue by some means. We have more ideas inspired by the continual support of the temple community and wealth of history we continually uncover.