Kimi Maeda

Hamada, Shimane, Japan

Kimi Maeda is a Japanese American theater artist based in Japan. She is trained as a scenic and costume designer, as well as a puppeteer, and her intimate visual performances cross disciplines and push boundaries. Her ephemera trilogy is a collection of sand drawing and shadow performances that deal with memory, home, and transcultural identity. It was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in 2017. She has taken “Bend,” the final chapter of the trilogy, to 26 different cities across the United States, as well as three cities in Japan. She was selected in 2017 for a Creative Artist Fellowship from the Japan-US Friendship Commission. She was also selected by the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms to participate in the Open Immersion lab at the National Film Board of Canada and the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto in 2017. She was the recipient of a 2015 Jasper Magazine Visual Artist of the Year award, the 2005 Rose Brand Scenic Design Award from the United States Institute of Theatre Technology, and her costume design for Polaroid Stories was chosen for display in the 2007 Prague Quadrennial.

一憶ハウス (Ichi Oku House)

Kimi Maeda is a Japanese American artist based in Japan whose visual performances deal with memory, home, and transcultural identity.

Artist Bio

Kimi Maeda is not one who throws things away easily. Her eye is always drawn toward an untapped possibility, a moment when the seemingly exhausted object will once again prove useful. In our disposable present, Maeda’s attention is often drawn to those objects, people, and communities who get left behind. Her new project, Ichi Oku House, re-situates her experimental-performance practice within the realm of the left-behind. In Japan’s remote Shimane Prefecture where she lives, she will be transforming an abandoned residence, known in Japanese as an akiya, into both the setting and the main character in a performance piece that interweaves her family’s history (in both Shimane and America) with stories from neighbors, friends, and Japanese folk tales. Tapping into the discourse of house tours, Maeda’s bilingual solo performance will integrate moments of object theater, shadow performance, and interactive light and sound installations throughout the house to explore the burden and blessing of memory and how our treatment of objects and spaces mirrors larger, transnational trends toward the abandonment of rural communities. In choosing to work on the scale of a house and its surrounding grounds, her intention is to create a piece that will age, transform, and possibly decay over many years. Embracing her tendency to continually tweak and adjust her performances, Ichi Oku House will evolve as community members, visiting artists, and audiences add their own memories, objects and movements to the space.

Award Year

In Progress