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Exhibition presents the work of four photographers connected by family ties
Osamu James Nakagawa. No. 17 Morning Light, Bloomington, Indiana, Spring 1999.


BLOOMINGTON, IN.- The Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University Bloomington, in conjunction with the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art, presents the exhibition A Shared Elegy. The exhibit opened on October 13 and continues through November 16, 2017. A 112-page book, A Shared Elegy will be published and distributed through Indiana University Press.

A Shared Elegy presents the work of four photographers connected by family ties. Osamu James Nakagawa and his uncle, Takayuki Ogawa, and Elijah Gowin and his father, Emmet Gowin, present unique but overlapping visions recording family histories. Nakagawa, like his uncle Ogawa, grew up in Japan and draws upon his country’s traditions and the practice of honoring elders. Family heritage and home in Virginia have inspired the Gowins to make photographs that depict the intimate and hallowed nature of the world. These photographs compel us to reflect on our own lineage and consider our place in the progression of generations and the cycle of life.

Cultural differences can be perceived in these images, however, there are many similarities surrounding important life events. We see normal experiences typical of every family: birth, the raising of children, connection with home, aging, and illness and death. While there are difficult images in the exhibition, the artists do not shy away from these moments. The inclusion of these works, along with those that are joyful and effusive, create a complete story about the universal cycle of life and death.

Emmet Gowin is an esteemed photographer known worldwide for his deeply spiritual photographs of his wife’s extended family in rural Virginia. His pictures reflect a time gone by but also the universality of the life experience that is relevant to every family. Elijah Gowin and Osamu James Nakagawa exhibit internationally and have made the theme of family connections their life’s work. Takayuki Ogawa is known for his images of New York in 1969. A series of self-portraits taken throughout his battle and recovery from cancer during 1995-97 have been included in this exhibition. Ogawa died in 2008.

The accompanying book to the exhibition will feature essays by Yoshiko Suzuki and Joel Smith and more than eighty images. This book is the result of the first collaboration between the Grunwald Gallery and the Eskenazi Museum of Art, recognizing each as a key venue for displaying and collecting contemporary photography.





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