Pauses and flow in art making and ethnographic research

Lydia Nakashima Degarrod


  • I examine my dual role as artist and ethnographer in the creation of artworks including mixed-media paintings and installations. Drawing from four works that combine art making and anthropological research, I present, from the perspective of anthropology, the process of the creation of artworks as dynamic sites for creating and observing the emergence of knowledge, as well as the development of empathy between researcher/artist and participants. Art making provided the tools to unveil ephemeral subjects such as the internal images of exile, the traces of memorable dreams in cities, and the memories and legacy of World War II among Japanese Latin Americans. Art making was possible by using approaches from anthropology that emphasize the senses as a means of both acquiring and expressing knowledge, the view of the anthropologist as a conductor of experiences and events, and multimodal anthropology.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/718376