‘When the Cousins Came’ Starred Review by Kirkus

“In a story that’s reminiscent of “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse,” a young mixed Japanese-white girl savors creating summer memories with her cousins.

“The night before the cousins came, I couldn’t sleep.” Country girl Lila is excited to host city cousins Rosie and Takeo, who sport hair styled in “two puffy balls” and “a little shark fin,” respectively. Her bucket list is full of simple pleasures, such as painting and camping outside. Luckily for her, her cousins are game, and they take turns teaching each other new things, such as skateboarding, riding a bike, and how to eat with chopsticks, “ ‘Hold them like this,’ said Takeo. I tried…and tried.” (The page offers four amusing scenes of Lila first awkwardly using the unfamiliar utensils and then finally gaining mastery.) Lila also introduces her cousins to fireflies. “ ‘What is that?!?’ asked Takeo. I caught a firefly and cupped it in my hands. The firefly bumped gently against the walls of my palms. ‘Just look,’ I whispered to Rosie.” Yamasaki uses deceptively simple, carefully chosen language for the brief blocks of text on each page. The rest of the story is told through her paintings, which are defined by bright brush strokes of color. The overall effect is a quiet story that captures all those small cherished moments in childhood.

“A rare find about family featuring a mixed-raced protagonist. (Picture book. 4-7)”

Read the review on kirkusreviews.com

Children Communicate With Incarcerated Mothers Through Mural

Rikers Island Mural

10-year-old Shyzaya Louallen is using art to connect to his mother as she serves time at Rikers Island.

“I feel good about painting it because it gets me excited so when she comes out I could show her,” he said.

The mural in East Harlem is a visual dialogue between children and their incarcerated mothers. The images are based on messages and drawings sent to the kids by their moms.

– Jeanine Ramirez

Read the full article at ny1.com

Rikers Moms Connect With Children Through Art

Rikers Island

White cinder block walls with steel security gates line the hallways at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. The women’s jail at Rikers contains a large percentage of inmates who are mothers, including Safiyah Tate.

“I love my children and I just feel guilty that I put them through so much pain in being away,” Tate says.

Now, Tate is connecting to her children through art. She’s one of a dozen mothers at Rikers painting a mural on a jailhouse wall with images of her children. The design is based on messages and drawings that their children sent to them as part of the art project.

– Jeanine Ramirez

Read the full article at ny1.com

Q&A with Paper Tigers

Can you tell us about your family background? Did you always want to be an artist?

I come from a family full of artists, so I never really thought I would take that road. My grandfather was an amazing architect, my grandmother was a concert pianist, my uncle is a photographer, my aunt is a tai-chi teacher, and so many of my cousins are artists across all genres. I always enjoyed making art as a kid, especially crafty things (our mom would let us paint the windows and we were allowed to draw on the walls in my brother’s room), but I didn’t think it was the career for me. It seemed a little too solitary and I didn’t have a sense of how art could be used to make a difference in the world.

Since I was young, I have always had a very strong interest in social justice, and I didn’t see how I could connect that with an art career. I didn’t actually ever learn how to draw until I got to college. I went into college thinking I would be a social worker and then I signed up for a drawing class when I was 19. I was the worst one in the class, but once I started I didn’t want to stop. I loved the feeling of drawing so much that I didn’t care that my drawings weren’t good.

– papertigers.org

Read the full interview 

Eileen Fisher Feature

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTT_RldjVrg&w=550&h=309]

 

“Katie Yamasaki speaks on Voices Her’d from the Groundswell Community Mural Project. Her message of ‘girls have the floor and they’re going to take it’ stresses the importance of how people see teenage girls and art. She also stresses the importance of sustainable and humane clothing.”

– EileenFisherInc on youtube.com

Motor City Muralism

“Join Detroit Bikes for an extended version of our Motor City Muralism bike tour.  Beginning and ending at the Detroit Institute of Arts, participants will explore murals throughout the city of Detroit and be invited to participate in a discussion of the Diego Rivera murals at the DIA.”

– detroitsyngery.org

Detroit mural from street

Read the full post on detroitsynergy.org

 

Visual Art and Social Transformation, Talk at Asian/Asian American Research Institute

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK4Ou4PQpzI&w=550&h=309]

 

“The public art projects of Katie Yamasaki have covered topics from the Japanese Internment to the militarization of inner city youth. In just 8 years since the completion of her MFA at the School of Visual Arts, her work has earned her invitations to develop public art projects in Chiapas, Mexico with the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, Santiago de Cuba, rural Appalachia, Sevilla and Barcelona, Spain, Namibia, Japan, Detroit, New Jersey, Indiana and all over New York City.

For Yamasaki, public and mural art has the unique ability to create new dialogues that challenge the evolving identities of communities in transition, communities of political and/or cultural resistance and communities of the displaced/disenfranchised. Her work, culturally and politically is woven together by the common threads of communication, transformation and liberation.

Yamasaki will share her global public art projects as well as her past and upcoming book projects, two in particular. Fish for Jimmy is a book for children which will be published in September, 2012. Based on a family story, it tells the story of two boys in the Japanese Internment Camps. It is Yamasaki’s first published book as both author/illustrator. She will also discuss Yama, the illustrated biography of her grandfather, architect Minoru Yamasaki. This story tells the tale of the Nisei experience from the perspective of her grandfather who came to be known as one of the most influential American architects of the 20th Century.

Finally, the presentation will consider the evolving role of public art and art of cultural identity in the ever-changing Asian American community.”

– aaaricuny on youtube.com