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Roger Shimomura papers, 1959-2014

Biographical Note

Roger Shimomura (b. 1939) is a Japanese American painter, printmaker, performance artist, and teacher who has worked primarily in Kansas since 1969.
Roger Shimomura was born in 1939 in Seattle, Washington. He was a third generation Japanese-American and received his B.A. in Graphic Design from the University of Washington in 1961, and a M.F.A. in Painting from Syracuse University in 1969. Shimomura spent two childhood years in one of 10 concentration camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII, and later served as an officer in the United States Army from 1962 to 1965. He was active in the Japanese-American redress movement in the 1970s. Since the 1970s, Shimomura's work has combined American popular imagery with the Japanese ukiyo-e tradition.
He has had over 125 solo exhibitions of paintings and prints, as well as presented his experimental theater pieces at such venues as the Franklin Furnace, New York City, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Shimomura has been a visiting artist and lectured on his work at more than 200 universities, art schools, and museums across the country. Shimomura began teaching at the University of Kansas' Department of Art in 1969 and worked there until his retirement in 2004. At that time he started the Shimomura Faculty Research Support Fund, an endowment to foster faculty research in the Department of Art. Throughout his career, Shimomura has had numerous exhibitions and experimental theater pieces on a national level. In 1999, the Seattle Urban League designated a scholarship in his name that has been awarded annually to a Seattle resident pursuing a career in art. In 2002, the College Art Association presented him with the "Artist Award for Most Distinguished Body of Work," for his 4 year, 12-museum national tour of the painting exhibition, "An American Diary." Shimomura continues to live and work in Kansas.