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Judy Hiramoto

Japanese/American, b. 1951

The Earth is Flat
1987

Earthenware
7.25 x 7.5 x 7.5 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation
1987.212.1-2

Whimsically designed and brightly painted, Hiramoto’s The Earth Is Flat takes the form of an oversized sugar bowl that warns its user of the hazards of overseas adventure. “The Sea Is Perilous, Monsters Abound, Sailors Be Wary,” the little pot instructs, although the octopi and sea serpents that adorn the jar hardly seem dangerous. The message is ironic, since the ceramics represented by Hiramoto’s form were brought to the West by sailing ships navigating the same ocean routes the piece cautions against. The outline of an uninhabited North America on the lid of the jar alludes to the age of exploration and colonialism.

Born in Japan, Hiramoto came to the United States as a child. She became a practicing artist after receiving her BA from Antioch University in 1973 and continued to develop her work through an MFA program at San Francisco State University. Hiramoto works in many mediums, including ceramics, installation, and digital prints. She is also a fierce advocate for women artists and an antiracist activist. Some of her best-known works deal with the consequences of nuclear technology and the human toll of the atomic bomb.

Danielle Stewart


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