Tomie Arai

Tomie Arai


  • Colonial legacy, Postcolonial art production, Reappraisal of the colonial past

  • New York City (United States of America)

Tomie Arai is a public artist who lives and works in New York City. She has designed both temporary and permanent public works of art.

Arai uses the specificity of her experience as an Asian American as a personal space in which to locate broader issues of race and gender, of inclusion and exclusion, and of belonging and non-belonging. She is one of the co-founders of The Chinatown Art Brigade, a radical cultural collective that creates new models of artistic production that engages with community groups to collect shared histories of resistance and social recall.
Arai's work has exhibited nationally and lives in the collections at the Library of Congress, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Japanese American National Museum, the Williams College Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She was recipient of two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in Printmaking (1991, 1994), Joan Mitchell Visual Arts Grant (1995), National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship for Works on Paper (1994), and three MidAtlantic Arts Foundation Visual Artists Residency Grants. Arai received a National Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's Caucus for Art (2016) and a Headlands Center for the Arts McLaughlin Award for Social Practice (2019).

Related link:

Article on a project by Tomie Arai, a US artist with Asian heritage, opposing the gentrification of New York’s and San Francisco’s Chinatowns (Goethe-Institut USA,

Contact Tomie Arai

Contributions by Tomie Arai