Photo Credit: Elliott Alexander
Born in Japan and raised in the California Bay Area, Maya Fuji is inspired by both her cultural heritage and the exploration of the liminal space she lives in as an issei (first generation) mixed race woman in the United States. She is fascinated by traditional Japanese mythology and folklore, as well as Showa and Heisei era subcultures, and expands on these themes within the context of her personal experiences. A recurring theme in her work is the exploration of what forms our sense of identity, and how that can shift during one’s lifetime through generations of living abroad. Imbuing the complexity of being multicultural, multinational, and multiracial is central to her works, as her paintings contrast the nostalgia of childhood memories with underlying feelings of being a foreigner simultaneously navigating Japanese and American communities. Through her works, she illuminates self-discovery through narration and investigation of the otherness she felt throughout her life, and uses it as a catalyst to reconnect with and reclaim space within her heritage.