Yuko Nogami Taylor – Majestic Incognito: Sanctuary
In 2017 I traveled to Northeast India to visit a dear friend who used to live in NC. This area is a foundation of hearty dark English Breakfast Assam Tea and fragrant gentle highland Darjeeling tea. My longtime dream of visiting the route of “Silk Road” and the love of a cup of soothing tea at teatime is a simple connection to these lands.
I asked her, who is the ancestor and child of the scholars of Boro-tribe and its kingdom, to take me to the area. She had stated many times that the Boro tribe is her heritage. She also said there are people who looked just like me. These seemingly untouched indigenous people – the Boro, and other indigenous people in the area, are tragically beautiful, ideally simple, unthinkably strong, and its culturally merged with the earth. I found a need to look for deeper connections, realizing that I would not be able to solve the puzzle of how I, many generations Japanese female, was obviously genetically connected to these indigenous Boro residing in Northeast India.
As a visual artist, I am able to express respect and weave my personal connection to the Boro via these series of paintings inspired by my visit to Northeast India.
October 31 – December 1, 2019
Third Friday Reception: November 15, 2019 6-9 pm
Hours: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 12-9. Sunday 12-4
Yuko Nogami Taylor Interview
5PG Interviewer: You have an exciting exhibition coming up in November at 5 Points Gallery, Majestic Incognito-Sanctuary. Can you tell us a bit about your new series and what inspired this show?
I am very excited about this show because it is my new series of portraits of oil paintings. I have revisited a few single pieces but have not introduced a body of work within this series for over a year. It is again, the subject is my usual oil painting with people that I inspired by. However, this time they are currently living in the far away in North Eastern India, where India meets Asia. These new paintings are possible because of my long-term love of desire to travel through the Ancient Silk Road since I was in my middle school age. The “Silk Road” was a trading route that once connected the West and East in the Eurasia continent. This route has a long history. I am always interested in the phenomenon of where the culture meets other cultures.
5PG Interviewer: The show is mainly inspired by the people of the indigenous Boro tribe in northeast India. How did this unique connection inspire you to paint these portraits?
I met a dear friend in NC years ago thru my art, who is the ancestor and child of the scholars of Boro-tribe and its kingdom. My painting subject is connected to her roots and this “Sanctuary” along with this Silk Road. I begged her to take me to the most interesting area within the transition of the culture and people where she is familiar, that India meets Asia. There, I found people live honestly to its great earth, it was like l traveled into a time capsule. They live without the “Creature Comforts” we think are necessary. I found those strengths in humanity within people there extremely beautiful and meaningful for me to paint. I visited where they produce Silk threads and weaving them. More fascinatingly, they harvest finest Assam tea which has been my love, so I follow the Darjeeling tea farms too. As I traveled thru there, my friend and I found some of our onomatopoeia words are also in the same sounds and meanings. I felt that I met my ancestors on this road and connected with my island of Japan, or not, but they surprisingly resemble myself in its features as she told me.
5PG Interviewer: You are originally from Tokyo, Japan, and have now lived in North Carolina for 29 years. In current, and past series, we see hints of your Japanese culture; how would you describe your style of painting today?
I realized for a while that I am painting to mirror myself to the subject of what I paint. This is true for all of my Japanese Nihonga, abstract playful paintings, and African American heritage series. By now I figured this is how I paint. I used to add this love of my visual Japanese icons to my subject for me to bridge the identity of myself and balanced it within me. Maybe I have been doing this for long, or maybe I started to have my own style and voice that the icons are started to disappear. I am currently trying to figure out why that is.
5PG Interviewer: Your paintings are so unique and original; who are your biggest influences?
My art application influences are coming from many directions. American Chinese master painter, Hung Liu, for the start, and many Japanese breaking through oil painters in the Meiji era, Japanese folk-art movements in the Edo period, and post-impressionism in Europe, etc. But my biggest influencers for my art and reason to paint comes from is who I am having to spending my art endeavors thru my everyday life. My family and galleries and studio art friends in Raleigh, Durham and other friends all over the world who I spend my life with every day.
5PG Interviewer: What is your favorite part of your art-making process? Do you have a favorite tool or medium?
My favorite magic tool is gravity and time. My favorite magic medium is the balance of the universe.
5PG Interviewer: Your work is extremely well-received in the 5 Points Gallery, and is currently displayed in many private and public venues. Can you tell us your future goals as an artist?
My goal is for me to keep painting my honest art subject; so, I think I am at the goal already?? I will be blessed if and when I am inspired to paint, and I am sure those keep coming to me. And it is always wonderful if I have place to show those what I painted.