PUHI — The artwork of Ray Yoshida is an inspiration to everyone at the Kaua‘i Community College, said KCC Chancellor Helen Cox.
Cox was speaking at the dedication ceremony for artwork donated to the KCC One Stop Center last week and attended by the artist Yoshida, his niece, Jennifer Goto-Sabas, and other members of the Yoshida family.
“These works will show everyone what the combination of native talent and a lot of hard work can produce,” Cox said.
Yoshida was born in Kapa‘a on Oct. 3, 1930, and graduated from Kapa‘a High School.
He moved on to the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa from 1948-50 before transferring to The Art Institute of Chicago where he graduated with a degree in fine arts in 1953.
He pursued a Masters of Fine Arts from Syracuse University in New York and attained it in 1958. Following that, Yoshida returned to The Art Institute where he started his teaching career that spanned more than 30 years before retiring in the early 2000s.
Yoshida now resides in Honolulu after returning from Chicago in 2006, and Goto-Sabas, speaking on behalf of her uncle, said the contribution to the KCC One Stop Center was the first he’s done since he returned to Hawai‘i.
Goto-Sabas said Yoshida established his entire career as a teacher and a painter outside Hawai‘i and is credited with helping to guide and develop many of the famous artists that have come out of Chicago.
Among these are Roger Brown, Jim Nutt and Gladys Nilsson, known as Chicago Imagists.
According to a biography provided by KCC, Chicago Imagism is the postwar tradition of fantasy-based art making, and Yoshida began making collages from cut-out fragmentary images from comic books in the 1960s. He returned to this form in the early 1990s.
Cox said one art critic described Yoshida’s work as having answers but asks questions of the viewers.
This trait is parallel to the mission statement at KCC where students are given answers in the form of instruction, but are encouraged to think and ask questions.
The artwork gift was accepted and acknowledged by the University of Hawai‘i Foundation president Donna Vuchinich, and following the close of the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents meeting which was taking place at the KCC One Stop Center, Yoshida was greeted and thanked by the regents as well as University of Hawai‘i president David McClain.
Selection of the artwork was done between KCC art instructor Wayne Miyata and Goto-Sabas with the KCC Maintenance department doing the installation.