About the Photographer

Nakagawa, Osamu James

American, b. 1962 Japan

Osamu James Nakagawa's project GAMA, takes the viewer inside Okinawan caves where people sought refuge during World War II. Through the darkness, shapes and figures emerge, both mysterious and ominous. Indistinguishable forms morph between flesh and stone, and vines become veins. Nakagawa, whose own cultural identity bridges Japan and America and who is married to an Okinawan, has been pulled back and forth between these two cultures, an experience that mirrors Okinawan history. Coming face to face with this place is akin to confronting his personal history. The artist sees these works as a personal dialogue between himself and Okinawa as he strives to give light and form to memories that have long been forgotten.

Osamu James Nakagawa was born in New York City on June 3, 1962. Seven months later his Japanese-born parents took him to Japan, where the family would live for 15 years before settling in Houston (his parents returned to Japan once Nakagawa finished high school). He holds a BA in studio art from the University of St. Thomas Houston (1986) and an MFA in photography from the University of Houston (1993). His work has been shown in exhibitions including Ma - between the past at McMurtrey Gallery, Houston; Kai: Osamu James Nakagawa at SEPIA International, New York; Cuenca, Ecudor Bienal: Borderline Figuration; and Medialogue-Photography in Contemporary Art '98, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. He has been a Light Work Artist-in-Residence and the recipient of an Indiana Arts Commission grant. Nakagawa is an assistant professor of photography at Indiana University, Bloomington.