Eighty Years Project

Eighty Years is a collaborative project between two Japanese Canadian artists: Jennifer Aoki (dancer and choregrapher) and Cait Nishimura (composer). We aim to translate into movement and music the experiences of oppression, grief, resentment, reconnection, and healing that exist within the story of Takata family's piano.

Jen Aoki and Cait Nishimura sitting with Takata piano

In September 2022, we had the opportunity to attend the GEI: Art Symposium in Victoria, BC, which was the first national multi-day symposium of Japanese Canadian artists and Japanese artists living in Canada. This was our first in-person meeting and we also got to meet the Takata family's piano at the Gorge Park Pavilion. Here is a video clip from an improvised performance surrounded by symposium attendees and community members. 

Here is a sample of our most recent work-in-progress created during a residency in June/July 2023 at SFU Woodwards: 

Behind the Scenes

We have been working together remotely since 2021, and have developed an inspiring artistic relationship to support our individual journeys as Japanese Canadians. We offer each other reflective practices, experiments, and sensory proposals to clarify intent, content, and context. We encourage each other to dive deep into our inner landscapes to distill meaning, pushing each other to take greater creative risks than we would on our own.

Project manager of Landscapes of Injustice Michael Abe connected both of us in the Spring of 2021. We found that we both were processing trauma and exploring our cultural identity through art. We both felt inspired by the rediscovery of the Takata family’s piano, as well as empowered to express our responses to this powerful story through our own artistic mediums. 

Michael Abe quote

Here are some additional video clips from the rehearsal/creation process with Jennifer and the dancers in 2023:

collaborator testimonials

 Additional Resources