Hidemi Takagi: IDENTITIES

Stair-gazing Gallery
February 23, 2024–May 24, 2024

Hidemi Takagi is a community photographer, visual artist, and social practitioner who documents diverse community members in her Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. She captures the vibrancy, joy, and experiences of these predominantly immigrant, minority, and underserved communities. Using her experience as a Japanese immigrant with a multiracial family as a source of inspiration, she is drawn to the mixing of histories and cultures. In 2015, she began focusing on social engagement projects, spending months meeting with senior citizens and listening to their stories, creating outdoor portraits, and interacting with individuals in barber shops. Her creative practice involves intimate conversations and attentive listening that culminate in visual displays of her photographs.

The photograph Mikua, on view in the Stair Gazing Gallery, is from Takagi’s “IDENTITIES” series, an ongoing photography installation project that explores issues related to mixed-race identities. Takagi began this project during the COVID-19 pandemic and initially focused on her own family. She says “I search to visualize my family’s roots and the cultural tendrils that have grown and intertwined from them and also address the issues of mixed-race identity, racism, and immigration in America.” The project has expanded to include portraits of diverse individuals in New York City as well as Bayonne, New Jersey; Miami, Florida; and Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan. By interviewing her subjects and encouraging them to wear attire that reflects their cultural backgrounds, Takagi investigates the public and private sides of racial identity. She explains, “Americans tend to divide, separate, segregate and categorize people based primarily on the color of skin. Through my art exhibitions and related events, I want to stir discussion and break the silence about multiracial lives.”

Hidemi Takagi, Mikua from the "IDENTITIES" series, 2022, Digital C Print on the textile

Hidemi Takagi, Mikua from the “IDENTITIES” series, 2022, Digital C Print on the textile