Carlos Runcie Tanaka2003

Inter-American Development Bank

Inter-American Development Bank

Carlos Runcie-Tanaka’s art explores questions of migration, cultural identity, and displacement and has become a vehicle through which he himself reflects on his own multifaceted identity as a Peruvian descendent of British and Japanese migrants. In fact, as an artist, Tanaka is most recognized for his ceramic work, a medium that is equally as important in traditional Japanese pottery-making as it is in the pre-Hispanic legacy of ceramics in Peru. Dos, a lithograph of two crabs constructed through the Japanese technique of origami, presents another side of Tanaka’s work through printmaking. The lithograph’s two origami crabs are printed with the phrase, “Ayer me fui al mar a comer arena y no sé si me tragué el principio o el fin del universo” (Yesterday, I went to the sea to eat sand and do not know if I swallowed the beginning or the end of the Universe). The crab has long been an important symbol for the artist in his study of multiculturalism. The origins of this motif began in 1994 when Tanaka visited the obelisk at Cerro Azul beach that commemorates the Japanese immigration to Peru. Tanaka explains, “I remember having seen these dried up crabs near the obelisk. And in some way I thought to myself, seeing my mother and my family walking on the beach and having a family meal together there, that those crabs were like persons who had washed ashore, like grandparents who had been returned to shore by the waves, those boats that they took, which remain in Peru.” From this moment forward, the crab became a symbol of the Japanese immigration to Peru, and more specifically of his relationship to his paternal Japanese grandfather.

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  • Title: Dos
  • Creator: Carlos Runcie Tanaka
  • Date Created: 2003
  • Location: Peru
  • Physical Dimensions: w27.5 x h19.75 in
  • Class: 2-dimensional
  • Type: lithograph
  • Rights: All rights reserved
  • Medium: lithograph on paper