Japanese American Artist Helen Oji’s kimono paintings added to collection

OZ Art NWA’s collection is expanding by multiple artworks, granting more public access to culturally and historically relevant art in the Northwest Arkansas community.

OZ Art NWA has acquired three artworks by Helen Oji from Estrada Fine Art. These highly regarded paintings from Oji’s “Kimono” series were first exhibited at the Monique Knowlton Gallery in New York in 1982 and will be on view on a rotating basis in Bentonville, Ark.

“OZ Art NWA is committed to making art part of everyday life in Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas,” said Olivia Walton, OZ Art NWA visionary. “Helen Oji’s exquisite paintings – and the more than 400  works in the Collection – make this vision a reality, inspiring creativity and challenging the status quo in only the ways that great works of art can.”

Japanese American artist Helen Oji burst onto the 1980s New York art scene with her “Kimono” series shortly after moving there in 1976 from her hometown of Sacramento, Calif. Oji has folded multiple sheets of paper in what she has described as a “pseudo-origami process” to build kimono-shaped canvases that were then thickly layered with acrylic and rhoplex to incorporate textured, arresting images of Japanese iconography and natural phenomena, like volcanos and swarms of bees.

The new Oji acquisitions are titled “Swarming Bees” (1981), “Space Shuttle” (1982) and “Grey Inky” (1982). These works will be incorporated into the viewing rotation of the OZ Art NWA Collection, which makes art part of everyday life in this Ozarks community at locations such as Blake Street House, Blu Fresh Fish Market, Pedaler’s Pub, The Preacher’s Son, Press Room, Scotch & Soda, Thaden Fieldhouse, Yeyo’s, Razorback Greenway, Osage Park, Coler Park and along OZ Trails.

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About OZ Art NWA

OZ Art NWA makes art part of everyday life by bringing together an incredible network of museum-worthy art, artists, events and experiences in unexpected places across Northwest Arkansas. Founded in 2017 to provide accessible, diverse contemporary art encounters, OZ Art NWA supports the regional arts scene both by collaborating with local arts organizations and by showing its collection in a variety of public locations throughout Bentonville and beyond. The Collection includes more than 400 works spanning a variety of media and forms, including murals, outdoor installations, sculptures, paintings and drawings that highlight important issues such as diversity, gender equality and racial equity.

About Estrada Fine Art

Estrada Fine Art is a Los Angeles-based business founded in 2005 that serves the discerning, well-educated connoisseur who is seeking access to the original artwork of exceptional mid-career artists.

About Artist Helen Oji

Over the course of her five-decade career, New York-based, California-born Japanese American Artist Helen Oji has elaborated a remarkably diverse yet cohesive oeuvre across a variety of mediums, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, installations and performances. Oji draws inspiration from historical and popular Japanese arts and traditions, like mythology, fairy tales, ukiyo-e prints, film, crafts, fashion and zodiac to inject contemporary, formal and conceptual concerns with references to her heritage.

Image credit: Helen Oji, Swarming Bees ©1981, 60×72 inches, acrylic, rhoplex, glitter on folded paper.

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