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Brooklyn artist is awarded a 'Career Opportunity Gant' from the Oregon Arts Commission for 2021

DAVID F. ASHTON - Brooklyn neighborhood artist Mami Takahashi, a recent recipient of an Oregon Art Commission grant, shows her unfolded art book - which combines her painting with her poetry. Of the dozens of artists around the state to receive an Oregon Arts Commission (OAC) "Career Opportunity Grant" award for 2021, only one of them lives and works in Inner Southeast Portland. In the Brooklyn neighborhood, it's Mami Takahashi.

"Career Opportunity Grants support individual Oregon artists by enabling them to take advantage of timely opportunities to enhance their artistic careers; most grants support the artists' participation in residencies, exhibitions, or performance opportunities," explained OAC Communications Manager Carrie Kikel.

Specifically the OAC awarded $1,000 to Takahashi – which has supported travel and her participation in the prestigious artist-in-residency program at the Hambidge Center, the oldest residency program in the Southeast, situated in Georgia.

"The residency programs I have attended before were for the solo artist, and most of them gave me a quiet and no-destructive environment," Takahashi told THE BEE. "However, after having three solo artist residencies, I wanted to have different experiences.

"Through this artist residency, which I attended with OAC's funding, I met Atlanta-based artists, writers, and curators, which led me to wider art communities in the U.S."

One of her works which caught the eye of the judges was a very limited-edition hand-made book of poems and art she called, "The Poetry of Presence".

"It is an 'art book' of my immigration poems, created with the letterpress technique," Takahashi explained. "I collected 40 English words, from my own vocabulary notes, for my understanding of immigration articles from the New York Times. I combined these selections with entries from my journal as a teenager, and [essays that were] personally influential [to me] to create short haiku poems in English."

This unique book is of a "fan-folded" design, and includes four poems, two on each side.

"I was very happy to see my Japanese painting background [an oxidizing silver leaf painting technique used in traditional Japanese illustration] and my poetry come together into a book art format," beamed Takahashi.

You can learn more about this artist at her website –

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