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Japanese, born 1973
Yuken Teruya filters his observations of contemporary life and his native Okinawa into elegant, evocative mixed-media installations, sculptures, and public art projects that speak of the shaping forces of consumerism, politics, and history. Using humble materials, like toilet paper roles and pizza boxes, he crafts visions that reveal the disharmony between human beings and nature, and among ourselves. The delicacy and beauty of his works belie their critical edge. In You-I, You-I (2002-05), for example, he re-worked the patterning on Okinawa’s traditional kimono, interrupting images of indigenous flora and fauna with those of U.S. fighter jets and paratroopers, representing American and Japanese colonization. Trees recur throughout Teruya’s works. He has cut them out of toilet paper roles and shopping bags, materials they were destroyed to create, symbolic of our over-abundant consumer culture and its disregard for nature.