KaleidoLA Guest Art Speaker Series: Devon Tsuno
Friday, October 21, 2022 from 12:15-1:30pm PST.
Murphy Recital Hall

Free to all

KaleidoLA welcomes artist Devon Tsuno who will discuss his new body of work “sixteen cents each and a stage for plunder.” This series of paintings and public art projects are about the plunder and beauty of camellias propagated and distributed by Japanese American nurseries and gardeners in California. 80 years ago, 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated. Amerika, functioning as designed, enabled and encouraged the livelihood of Japanese American families to beplundered by the United States government, neighbors, friends and some who felt they were allies. “In 1942, Los Angeles newspaper publisher Elias Manchester Boddy purchased the nursery stock of at least three Japanese-owned nurseries. Two grower families, the Yoshimuras and the Uyematsus, were forced to sell their life’s work prior to their indefinite incarceration by the U.S. government during the Second World War. These plants, including rare and unique breeds of camellias, became the basis of what is now Descanso Gardens, a celebrated public garden.”(Wendy Cheng, “Landscapes of Beauty and Plunder,”) Over 300,000 camellias were purchased by Boddy from Japanese American nurseries at an average of 16 cents each, a fraction of their value. This artwork celebrates the beauty of the camellias propagated and distributed throughout the Los Angeles landscape by Japanese American gardeners, and documents the impact racial capitalism has had on Japanese Americans. This work is inspired by the haiku of Amy Uyematsu and is dedicated to the Uyematsu and Yoshimura families.


About the Speaker

Devon Tsuno is an artist and fourth generation Angeleno. His recent spray paint and acrylic paintings, installations, and public art focus on Japanese American history. Tsuno’s recent work is a yonsei story, a Los Angeles story, indissociable from the complexities of intergenerational and collective trauma, fences and cages, gentrification, displacement, water and labor politics, and how and where we choose to live. Tsuno’s interests have been central to his work with the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Hammer Museum, Candlewood Arts Festival, L.A. Metro, and Gallery Lara in Japan. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, NPR, KCET, Artillery Magazine, and X-TRA Contemporary Art Journal. Tsuno has recently exhibited in the MexiCali Biennial, Felix Art Fair, Subliminal Projects, Self Help Graphics and Art and the Seattle Art Fair. He was a Santa Fe Art Institute Water Rights Artist-In-Residence, SPArt Community Grantee, and was awarded a California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Art. Tsuno is represented by Residency Art Gallery in Inglewood, CA, is a member of J-TOWN Action Solidarity and is an Associate Professor of Art at California State University Dominguez Hills.


About KaleidoLA

KaleidoLA is the Department of Art and Art History’s annual guest speaker series. For the past ten years, KaleidoLA has been a vital connection between Loyola Marymount University and the Los Angeles arts community. For more information about the October event, contact Professor Dmitry Kemell, Interim Chair of Studio Arts at Dmitry.Kemell@lmu.edu.

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