A.I.R. Gallery is excited to announce Fellowship Artist Aya Rodriguez-Izumi’s first solo exhibition, TC-1, in which the artist explores her ancestral link to the island of Okinawa, Japan: both her birthplace and the site of the final battle of World War II.
The title of the exhibition, TC-1, refers to the typhoon condition ranking used by the US military stationed on the island to signal when it’s no longer safe to go outside. Rodriguez-Izumi creates a collaboration between generations, histories, and
time by reinterpreting a group of woodblock prints originally created by her father, Jose Rodriguez, in 1987. Initially carved for the publication “Okinawa’s Tragedy: Sketches from the Last Battle of WWII” by William T. Randall, these prints illustrate local accounts of the famous Battle of Okinawa. Referred to as “typhoon of steel,” the battle, which began on April 1st, 1945 between US and Japanese forces and raged for 81 days, claimed an estimated 100,000-140,000 civilian casualties from the then 300,000 Okinawan population and changed the course of history on the Ryukyu archipelago forever.
An intervention of layered strips of colored mylar have been superimposed on enlarged reproductions of her father’s prints about her mother’s homeland. These pieces are accompanied by video and audio works, sourced during a 2017 visit to Okinawa, and ceremonies carried out with family. This multidimensional environment allows Rodriguez-Izumi to explore familial and personal histories in conjunction with the historical events that greatly impacted not only her family history, but world history.
Aya Rodriguez-Izumi is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores ritual in its various manifestations. Through installation, performance, video, sculpture and beyond, she creates multi-dimensional pieces that are greatly informed by her Puerto Rican/Cuban and Okinawan background. She received her BFA from Parsons the New School for Design in 2009 and MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2017. Her work has been shown in exhibitions at El Museo del Barrio, the Knockdown Center, RUSH Gallery, Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the University of Pittsburgh along with projects in conjunction with PULSE Contemporary Art Fair, FLUX Art Fair, Chashama and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among many others. Rodriguez-Izumi is a current fellow and recipient of the 2018 Emma Bee Bernstein Fellowship at A.I.R. Gallery in DUMBO, Brooklyn.