The Art of Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani
Sunday, September 16, 2018
Emerson Street House 1006 N.E. Emerson St. Portland, OR 97211
"Emerson House recognizes Jimmy Mirikitani as a "fiercely independent outsider artist who achieved international fame in 2006 after being featured in a major art-house documentary." This exhibit features 30 of his drawings, which, like much of his work, prominently feature cats. Mirikitani drew and painted constantly throughout his tumultuous life, producing a vibrant body of work. His work explode with color, life, and — of course — cats, which are often used as symbols of remembrance for lost friends or family.
A U.S. citizen born in Sacramento, he was imprisoned as part of the WWII order that sent Japanese Americans to internment camps. In response to his staunch objections to the government’s actions, he was transferred to a special camp for “disloyals.” After being released, Mirikitani made a living under the table working as a cook until 1980, when his last employer died. Mirikitani remained homeless and unemployed for years afterwards, until filmmaker Linda Hattendorf met him selling his paintings on the street. While producing a documentary of his life and work, she supported him through regaining his citizenship, finding housing and long lost relatives, and establishing his art career." - Oregon Arts Watch