Organized by the San José Museum of Art, the exhibit provides an expansive look at the last decade of Akashi’s oeuvre. Works include photography, glass objects, bronze sculptures and site-specific installations, plus new pieces created in response to her father’s time in a Japanese-American incarceration camp during World War II, exploring the lasting impact of inherited trauma.
Kelly Akashi, “Cultivator (Hanami)” (2021, flame-worked borosilicate glass, bronze); PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART SAN DIEGO
Initially trained as an analog photographer, Akashi diverts from her instruction, utilizing fluid or malleable materials and advanced techniques like glass blowing, bronze casting and rope making. Akashi’s works frequently combine glass and wax with unique bronze casts of her own hand that capture the human form in its varying states.
“Being a craft person means that you are part of a bigger tradition,” says Akashi. “There is a massive community that has passed down knowledge through generations. Through these oral histories, we can feel both time and the people who cared to cultivate the crafts and passed them forward.”
Catch exhibition exclusives such as the debut of “Conjoined Tumbleweeds,” the artist’s most extensive bronze work to date, and “Be Me (Californian— Japanese Citrus),” a stainless steel cast of a fruit tree as a nod to the artist’s hybrid cultural roots. Part of Akashi’s ongoing Be Me series, it exemplifies the desire to erase the dichotomy between the self and other and experience the two in a fascinating harmony.