Kintsugi: Healing through Japanese Art

Opening: Thursday, Sep 29, 2022 6 – 8 pm
Friday, Sep 30, 2022 – Mar 12, 2023

1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610

The Japanese Arts Foundation (JAF), in partnership with the International Museum of Surgical Science (IMSS), proudly presents the exhibition, Kintsugi: Healing through Japanese Art, a solo exhibition by Japanese artist Mami Takahashi. This six-month-long exhibition will run from September 30, 2022, through March 12, 2023. A preview opening reception will be hosted at the IMSS on Thursday, September 29, 2022, from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm that is free and open to the public.

Conceptualized by JAF Executive Director Saira Chambers and created by JAF resident artist Mami Takahashi, this exhibition draws upon the traditional Japanese art of kintsugi, or 'gold repair,' that has been practiced to repair ceramics throughout Japanese history. This exhibition includes hand-made paper works, sculptures, paintings, and a community gallery, all surrounding the idea and practice of kintsugi in relation to the human body. As gold is used to repair broken ceramics in kintsugi, highlighting the break rather than erasing it, the artist invites us to reflect on how this translates to the human process of overcoming trauma and loss, particularly in our shared moment of the COVID-19 pandemic. kintsugi is not only a practice but also a belief, in that the break itself makes the ceramic more valuable and treasured. Takahashi applies kintsugi not to pottery, but to our lived spaces and beings. Through these works, we see a correlation between our own humanity and our shared healing process, and visitors are asked to view their trauma and “breaks” in a similar light. As we approach closer to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, this exhibition encourages our broader, and new, community to come together and heal through Japanese art.

“We are thrilled to share the art of kintsugi with the community through innovative perspectives, and diverse mediums. We hope this exhibition inspires visitors to embrace the loss we've collectively felt over the COVID-19 pandemic, and process it along with the vibrant and thriving community we remain despite it.” -JAF Executive Director, Saira Chambers.

"The IMSS enthusiastically hosts Kintsugi: Healing through Japanese Art in alliance with the JAF to showcase the beautifully intricate handmade work by the internationally recognized artist, Mami Takahashi, linking us to the past, and connecting us all through processes of healing. We hope to reach new and diverse audiences and provide a place for the public to come together through this community partnership." - IMSS Curator, Michelle Rinard.

Read more about the exhibition at

About the Artist: Mami Takahashi is a multidisciplinary artist from Tokyo, currently residing in two cities–Portland, Oregon, and Chicago, IL. Using photography, performance, installation, and urban intervention, her practice explores the complexities of being Asian and a woman living outside of her home country. The photographic works from the early development of the ongoing project, “Seeing you/Seeing Me”, were on exhibit at the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Portland, Oregon in an exhibition entitled The Unknown Artist, curated by former Venice Biannual curator Lucy Cotter. 

Previous exhibitions and performances have taken place at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco; DANK Haus, Chicago, IL; The International Museum of Art, El Paso, TX; Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Alberta, Canada; Gwangju Folk Art Museum, Gwangju, Korea; Instituto Municipal del Arte la Cultura, DG Mexico and Toriizaka Art Gallery, Tokyo, among other venues. She holds an MFA from Portland State University and a BFA from Joshibi University of Art and Design, Kanagawa. Takahashi is a recipient of the Ford Family Award for MASS MoCA residency and the Pacific Northwest College of Art+Leland Iron Work residency.

About the Curator: Saira Chambers is the Director of the Chicago Japanese Culture Center and Executive Director of the Japanese Arts Foundation. In addition to these roles, Saira is a curator, educator, event producer, and curriculum developer. She has worked with and maintained strong partnerships with the Hiroshima Peace Institute and Peace Memorial Museum, the Wing Luke Museum, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, DePaul University, and many other arts and community organizations. With an emphasis on community-driven and innovative exhibition models and programs, her work explores the art, history, and culture of Japan globally to bridge cultural competence and cross-cultural perspectives.

About the JAF: The Japanese Arts Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates inclusive and equitable opportunity, education, and support of Japanese arts thriving in Chicago’s diverse community and beyond. The JAF celebrates the multitude of voices in our community exploring and expanding Japanese arts and culture. The JAF supports this mission by hosting unique programs and open educational opportunities that share Japanese art equitably and accessibly, while highlighting our diverse community of artists, thinkers, and makers.

About the Museum: The International Museum of Surgical Science, a Division of the International College of Surgeons, was founded in 1954 by Dr. Max Thorek. The Museum is committed to enriching lives by enhancing an appreciation and understanding of the history, development, and advances in surgery and related subjects in health and medicine. The Museum is located in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood and is housed in a historic lake-shore mansion designed in the early 20th century by Howard Van Doren Shaw. 

About the Contemporary Arts Program: The International Museum of Surgical Science supports a commitment to contemporary art and artists through exhibitions and programs that use the frame of contemporary artistic practice to examine new perspectives in medical-surgical science and our relationship to the body. The Museum’s Contemporary Arts Initiative includes rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as an ongoing Artist in Residence program.

General Information: The International Museum of Surgical Science: 1524. N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL - 60610; tel. 312.642.6502; on the web at and

Hours and Admission: The exhibition will be open Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., except for most major holidays. Admission rates are $18 for adults and $14 for students, educators, military members, and seniors with ID.

Image: Mami Takahashi. Kintsugi Skull 01, 2022Resin replica skull, gofun (oyster powder), gold leaf, and gold powder. w 4 1/2″ x h 6″ x d 7″.