Katherine Shozawa is a Canadian interdisciplinary artist and educator whose socially engaged art process begins with intimate examinations of stories and qualities of memory embedded in marginalized communities in the U.S. and Canada. Her community-based art practice and community advocacy work began 20 years ago with Memory Boxes: Stories from New Denver. Supported by a post-Redress Community Development Grant from the National Association of Japanese Canadians Endowment Fund, and a fellowship from Yale University, she lived and worked among a community of Japanese Canadian elders, including her own relatives, for 7 months in a former internment camp site. The resulting collaborative work traveled to schools and community centers across Canada and to the Southern Poverty Law Center in the U.S. The project is housed in the permanent collection at the Nikkei National Museum (formerly Japanese Canadian National Museum and Archive), Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, and Simon Fraser University Archive.
Katherine’s current work examines intersectionalities with a particular focus on First Nations communities, reparations and economic displacement in Canada. Previously, she has partnered with human rights advocates to foster cross-cultural dialogue between Holocaust survivors and descendants of World War II incarceration at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, and created Camera Project, utilizing 35mm cameras to explore cultural and historical intersubjectivities of First Nations communities and Japanese Canadians in Vancouver’s former Japantown and impoverished Downtown Eastside. In the U.S., her work includes creating a semi-permanent installation Higo Ten Cent Store in a pre-war five-and-dime store in Seattle’s historic Japantown and Chinatown International District, and curating Corner Store: Takeout Stories, Amber Art & Design, exploring cross-cultural tensions and food deserts in North Philadelphia.
Katherine participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program after completing her MFA in Art Practice at the University of California, Berkeley. She has BA in American Studies from Yale University and has exhibited widely in New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., and received generous support from muraLab at the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the Lannan Foundation, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the National Association of Japanese Canadians Endowment Fund, and the Charles P. Howland Fellowship, Yale University. She teaches in the new MFA Program in Community Practice at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, PA.