Early in 2013 a group of Japanese Canadian artists and organizers embarked on the planning of a mural to celebrate the importance of Sanko, a Japanese supermarket and meeting place.
Serving the Japanese community since 1968, their current location at Queen St W and Claremont has been a crossroads for generations of customers seeking a connection to traditional food and gifts.
Artists Takashi Iwasaki, Mitsuo Kimura and Shogo Okada joined graffiti artist Darcy Obokata,Timothy Fukakusa, and Ken Galloway for a week in October 2013 to produce the three story 100 ft long mural.
While the graffiti artists tackled the more immediately recognizable Japanese iconography, Iwasaki, Kimura, and Okada injected the project with images from their current practice, often filtering personal experience through the lens of Japanese culture.
Kimura’s elements, the cherry blossoms, waterfall and koi fish, are quite traditional in their source, and an element to his practice intent on finding a bridge between Eastern tradition and Western culture. Iwasaki’s abstract forms and characters speak to his exploration of his day to day life, filtered by a child hood of exposure to Japanese illustration and art making. Okada anchors the project with Mount Fuji interpretation in the upper left, and some solid geometric explorations throughout.
The project was produced with the support of the Greater Toronto Chapter of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) and with the support of the City of Toronto through Toronto Arts Council. Great big thanks go to the owners of Sanko Trading Co.
Come to Le Gallery to check out more of their work.
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