Satomi Shirai:
Home & Home

Satomi Shirai: Home & Home

September 14 – October 27, 2012

Opening Reception: Friday, September 14, 6-8 pm

Heiner Contemporary is delighted to present Satomi Shirai: Home & Home, a solo exhibition by the New York City based photographer.  Home & Home chronicles the artist’s experience as an immigrant following her move from Tokyo to Queens in 2004.  Shirai’s imagery explores Asian-American identity as shaped by material items culled from the domestic landscape and day-to-day life.  Fascinated by the idea of home and how it relates to both cultural and individual identity, Shirai often photographs her subjects in intimate interior settings where objects surround and sometimes overwhelm the spaces and people.  She presents an existence defined by things: magazines, bottles, take-out containers, clothes, and food.  All of this paraphernalia -- piled on tables, crammed on shelves, and sometimes covering the floors -- creates a sense of chaos and dislocation; it also alludes to the way familiar items from home can become stand-ins for the actual place.

While Home & Home relays a deeply personal account of the artist’s struggle with her own biography, the series can also be understood within a broader context.  Single figures, pairs, or small groups populate her pictures and, while they are central to the storyline, they are often half hidden.  By obscuring the characters’ identities, Shirai emphasizes an open-ended narrative and invites the viewer to fill in the blanks.

Shirai graduated from Musashino Art University in Tokyo (1996) and worked as a commercial photographer in Japan before moving to New York City, where she received an MFA from Hunter College in 2010.  Her work is currently on view in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter.  Her photographs have been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London and are in the collections of Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art. 

Satomi Shirai: Home & Home will be on view at Heiner Contemporary September 14 – October 27, 2012. The gallery will host an opening reception on Friday, September 14, from 6-8pm, as well as a conversation between the artist and historian David C. Ward fo the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery on Saturday, October 6, from 4-5 pm. Heiner Contemporary is located at 1675 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. For more information about the gallery and any upcoming exhibitions, email or visit the website at

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