Rea Tajiri, visual artist/filmmaker

Rea Tajiri is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and educator who creates installation, documentary and experimental films. Her work situates itself in poetic, non-traditional storytelling forms to encourage dialog and reflection around buried histories. Her groundbreaking, award-winning film, digital video, and installation work has been supported by numerous grants, fellowships, and artistic residencies, and has been exhibited widely in museums, on television and in international film festivals. As an advocate of emerging artists and directors, Rea co-founded The Workshop, an incubator for Asian American film directors in New York City. 

Her experimental documentary History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashige and dramatic feature film Strawberry Fields have influenced a generation of filmmakers, leading to their inclusion in Asian American studies, documentary studies, and women’s and gender studies curricula across the US. Both films are featured on the Criterion Channel in the Sentient Art Films program My Sight is Lined with Visions

Her multi-site installation project Wataridori: birds of passage (2018) in Philadelphia mapped and revitalized forgotten traces of local Japanese American history, in a linked series of locations around the city. The piece was commissioned by Asian Arts Initiative for their 25th Anniversary, and was funded by a Pew Projects grant. Her feature documentary Lordville (2014) probed the material and immaterial traces of an upstate New York town’s history, and was included in the Yerba Buena exhibit Afterlives: We Survive. Her current documentary, Wisdom Gone Wild, a reflection on elder consciousness, the power of listening and the healing empathy of being heard, chronicles her sixteen-year journey of elder care for her mother who had dementia. The film received funding through ITVS, Independence Media Philadelphia, CAAM Documentary Fund, JustFilms/Ford Foundation and a Pew Fellowship. This film is premiering at the 2022 Blackstar Film Festival.

Tajiri has worked extensively throughout the U.S. as a visiting professor and artist-in-residence, and is currently teaching documentary production in the Film Media Arts department at Temple University.