2023 (In Progress) • Photography, Audio

Us (working title)

Us is a photography and interview project that pays tribute to a group of Japanese Canadian women and non-binary individuals who have long participated in community as artists, activists, organizers, mentors and more. In particular, this group of folks has contributed to spaces in Vancouver, B.C. that span beyond Japanese Canadian identity and are often the faces I see behind the labour in community.

This project stems from a personal perspective where many of these individuals have shown up in my pocket of community with acceptance, encouragement and guidance.

In 2014, I engaged with the Japanese Canadian community for the first time. I was at a conference for young people and I remember a handful of sansei who eagerly shuttled us around. Over the years, these elders and older folks have played a key role in supporting what has become a group of (mostly) under-40s, which includes myself and many people I now consider friends. Through these unintentional role models, we’ve felt both welcomed into community and learned how our identities and relationships can span beyond “Japanese Canadian.”

Through this project, slivers of their stories are recognized through personal interviews as they relate to the intersections of their work and identities, and what has driven them to continue participating in community after decades.

“The work everyone sees, happens because of the work no one sees.”

KŪ Project

"It's just a matter of being yourself."

— Grace Eiko Thomson