Art Exhibit: Hideo Sakata

Opening reception:  Sunday, July 19 2015 | 1 – 4pm.  On display thru August 2015.

FREE and open to the public.  No RSVP required.
Location: The Jean Deleage Art Gallery at CASA 0101 Theater
Featured Artist: Hideo Sakata
Curated by: Jimmy Centeno


Since I was a student, I believed art should contribute to society in some way.  As an extension of this inquiry, I traveled to Mexico to explore art and its relation to community.  I visited the art sites of Mexican artists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Jose Clemente Orozco.  I was deeply moved by the Mexican art scene, its colors, and its commitment to society.  I visited different art scenes in New York and Europe.  I found my artistic inspiration in Los Angeles.  Soon after leaving Mexico, the city of Los Angeles became the central point for my artistic practices hence, it became my home.

From 1980 to 1985 I organized the Asian Art Exhibitions with artist Bong Tae Kim at the Center for Modern Art Gallery.  In 1985 I founded the Cosmopolitan Art Association.  In 1988, I organized my first international exhibition in Seoul, Korea where over 100 artists from thirty countries exhibited their artwork alongside the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul.  Since then, I have organized 19 international exhibitions to this day.

I have been creating art for more than 35 years.  My motivation in creating art is inspired by my interest between the invisible cosmic matter and the visible in the world.

What is art?  It is an observation to see it as is, a desire to believe it, and the desire to continue to produce.

“Hideo Sakata paints luminous images and fantastical abstractions, pictures that envelop the imagination.  But he also lives with art in the real world, working tirelessly with other artists in organizations that advance the artistic causes and that bridge countries and cultures. A native of Nagasaki, Sakata-san was a child when an atomic bomb exploded above his city.  Shielded from the impact itself, the young artist-to-be still saw the flash and witnessed the aftermath.  It was a revelation, a visual one of heaven itself exploding and a spiritual one that all humans are precious, all civilizations rich, and art is the concrete manifestation of this.”

Peter Frank
Associate Editor of Fabric Magazine
Art Critic for the Huffington Post

The “Rooster” (Chicken Series B) by Artist Hideo Sakata painted in 1971, speaks of two realms of binary tensions between those on “this side of the line” and those on “the other side of the line,” the visible and the invisible, the civil and the uncivilized.

The composition reduces the horizon to a minimum allowing the grey weathered fence to dominate most all the canvass with an alert white peering rooster behind it.  It is a play between concealment and the un-concealed.  It is here were Sakata’s fence is done with suggestive strokes of paint that addresses man-made constructed boundaries set out to divide and classify.

On the exposing side of the fence a shadow of a rifle appears silently and almost invisible to the rooster behind it.  Sakata merges the vertical shadow of the weapon with that of the rooster’s head. Has the rooster perceived a threatening approach from the other side?  Is the rifle aimed at eliminating a specific meaning of virtues represented by the rooster; courage, confidence, kindness and civility?  Or is the white rooster alarmed and alerting us in some way?

The return of the Rooster’s gaze demands our attention.  It is a piercing gaze for a most urgent call for a dialog that departs from virtues that add to peace, justice and the nurturing of sensibility against all that that minus away at such approach.  The painting’s symbolic significance extends beyond boundaries and walls.  It reminds us of erected obstacles such as the Berlin wall, the wall between the U.S and the Mexican border, and many other invisible barriers that perpetuate a contention for the battle of ideas, ideologies, faith, and economic advantage.

The significance of the painting’s composition and content outpace the emphasis on form, it points to the political conflict between the west and the east, and the north and south.  There is no coincidence between the year it was made 1971 and the Vietnam War.  Sakata amplifies this division by painting the unperceived encroachment of a shadow of a weapon as a signifier for violence and war.

One can recall the point and shoot games at local fairs with moving objects as targets to be shot at from a distance.  Wars and conflicts are not created in a vacuum much less without first establishing a “distance” between those on this side of the line and those on the other side of the line regardless of their dimension.

Born and raised in Japan as a nine year old child, Sakata is a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bombing by the United States.  It is this experience the surviving of an atomic bombing, witnessing the catastrophe of war and its aftermath that brings about the painting of the “Rooster.” The painting is an accumulation of 26 years in the making after the dropping of the atomic bomb that circled, twisted and folded to and back in Sakata’s memory that began as a nine year old child until 1971 the year of the making of the “Rooster.”  Most all victims of such bombing were children, elders, and civilians hence the “invisible” defined as collateral damage.

Artist Hideo Sakata has a B.F.A from Nagasaki University.  He has exhibited internationally and organized art exhibitions in Asian countries and in The United States.  He is a founding Member of LELA International Art Gallery.
Artist Website:

Jimmy Centeno
Writer and visiting curator at Casa0101 Theater