Rea Tajiri is an award-winning director, producer, and educator who creates installation, documentary, and experimental films. Her work situates itself in poetic, non-traditional storytelling forms to encourage dialogue and reflection around buried histories of people of color. She is an associate professor at Temple University in the film media arts department.
History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashige, is her award-winning 1991 film about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II told in an essay collage. Strawberry Fields, was a dramatic narrative feature released in 1998 about a young Japanese American woman coming of age in Chicago during the 1970s who embarks on a road trip to explore her family’s past. Strawberry Fields won the Grand Prix at the Fukuoka Asian Film Festival. Her current project, Wisdom Gone Wild, which she finished just before her arrival at MacDowell, explores a person-centered approach to caregiving during her 16-year journey as a care partner to her mother who was diagnosed with dementia.
She has received support for her work through Center for Asian American Media, ITVS, The Leeway Foundation, Rockefeller Fellowship, NYFA, NYSCA, Independence Philadelphia Media Fund, and the Pew Foundation. Her video art has been included in the 1989, 1991, and 1993 Whitney Biennials. Her work has been exhibited at The New Museum for Contemporary Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim Museum, The Walker Art Museum, and the Pacific Film Archives.
Tajiri used her time at MacDowell in 2022 to recover from completing a seven-year project and worked on outreach and a press kit for her upcoming world premiere of Wisdom Gone Wild at the Blackstar Film Festival. She also researched a large-scale projection/installation project that she began in 2018, re-editing and learning Qigong, a type of new martial arts exercise to be used as an element in the project.