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Two new art exhibits open at Richmond Center

Oct. 25, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Two new exhibitions are open to the public free of charge at Western Michigan University's Richmond Center for Visual Arts.

"Yellow Terror: The Collections and Paintings of Roger Shimomura" and "Tricia Hennessy: Whisper Scream" are on display in the Monroe-Brown and Netzorg-Kerr galleries, respectively, through Wednesday, Nov. 24.

Gallery Hours

  • Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: noon to 6 p.m.

Photo of Roger Shimomura's Frat Rats acrylic on canvas.Roger Shimomura paints and collects stereotype representations of Asian-Americans appropriated from hundreds of objects circulated within popular culture over a 20-year period. His extensive collection, including approximately 300 salt and pepper shakers, masks, song books, movie posters, buttons, magazines and comics, testifies to the numerous variations of Asian and Asian-American stereotypes that were produced in various historic moments.

The images that Shimomura portrays in his work are, in part, inspired by the historic conceptualization of Asians as the yellow peril. The exhibition title, "Yellow Terror," draws upon the history and associations related to this term, which was used to describe the perceived menace and threat of the hordes from the East to the Christian morals, values, way of life, and to the social order in the West. This is not a new perception of Asians--it is rooted in the colonialist and imperialist fears of the East demonstrated by the expansionist campaigns of Genghis Khan and the Mongolians.

The yellow peril also has emerged in times when Asian countries posed a political threat to the West, such as during the Russo-Japanese War, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Tensions and fears were further ignited when Asian countries encroached upon the West's economic dominance. This occurred during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when periods of significant Asian immigration brought a group of workers viewed as competing for jobs with white Americans. In the 1980s, when Japan rose to a formidable economic powerhouse, the fear of the yellow peril again reappeared. Japan's success was believed to have a direct tie to the loss of jobs and economic hardship in the United States. During these periods of instability, fear often gave way to anger and sometimes erupted into violent episodes and hate crimes.

Tricia Hennessy is an art professor at WMU. She recently returned from a sabbatical leave with a multi-media installation that brings together her interests in graphic design, conceptual art, and the multi-media devices of popular culture. Sounds, moving images, projections and text bring the gallery space to life with an overload of visual and sound information.

For more information, contact the Frostic School of Art Exhibitions Office at (269) 387-2455.

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Media contact: Tonya Durlach, (269) 387-8400, tonya.durlach@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400