Tomie Arai (she/her) is a public artist, born and raised in NYC. The stories of displaced and dislocated communities across the globe form the basis for her partnerships with historians, activists and cultural organizations. Through the framework of community-led collaborations, Arai uses printmaking, artist books, public art, mixed media installations, and large-scale light projections as platforms to amplify issues of race, gender and cultural equity.
Arai has designed both temporary and permanent public works of art for Creative Time, the US General Services Administration Art in Architecture Program, the NYC PerCent for Art Program, the MTA Arts for Transit Program, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. She is a co-founder of the Chinatown Art Brigade, an Asian diasporic cultural collective that works with tenants fighting gentrification in NY Chinatown. Arai is a founding member of the A/P/A Voices: A Covid 19 Public Memory Project and was a 2020 Transnational Fellow with Monument Lab, an initiative that reimagines public space through stories of racial equity and social justice.
Over the years, workspace programs like the Center for Book Arts have played an important role in her work. Printing at the Women’s Studio Workshop, the Printmaking Workshop, Self-Help Graphics and the Lower East Side Printshop, where she was a keyholder for over 15 years, she was encouraged to build an art practice based on collaboration and exchange. Her most recent collaborations include posters printed by the Just Seeds Print Collective. Arai has shown and presented work at the CBA many times and was a CBA’s Featured Artist in 2013.
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