Maya Fuji, “Fujimura Tobacco Shop” at SWIM Gallery


Maya Fuji, “Fujimura Tobacco Shop”
solo exhibition of paintings
Dates of Exhibition: November 18, 2022 – January 7, 2023
Opening Reception: November 18, 6-8pm
[press release]

SWIM Gallery
509 Ellis St, San Francisco

Swim Gallery is honored to present a new body of work by Maya Fuji, “Fujimura Tobacco Shop,” a collection of large scale paintings created in remembrance and honor of the artist’s Japanese grandmother’s legacy and to Fuji’s Japanese identity.

Fuji’s grandmother ran a small tobacco shop out of her house in Kanazawa.  Fuji has fond memories of visiting her home during summers as a child. The shop was a hub for neighborhood residents and was a relic of old-school community gathering spots.

Sadly, the house caught fire a few years ago and no longer exists.  The Shop lives only in Fuji’s memory now,and is a painful reminder of loss and a source of grief.  Fuji feels the grief is also connected to being an issei. Fuji’s grandmother was the primary connection to her Japanese identity.

In Fujimura Tobacco Shop, Fuji creates paintings utilizing visual memory fragments of her home, often blending moments spanning over years.

THE ARTIST: Fuji was Born in Japan and raised in the California Bay Area, Maya Fuji is inspired by both her cultural heritage and the exploration of the liminal space she lives in as an issei (first-generation) mixed-race woman in the United States. She is fascinated by traditional Japanese mythology and folklore, as well as Shōwa and Heisei–era subcultures, and expands on these themes within the context of her personal experiences.

A recurring theme in Fuji’s work is the exploration of that which forms our sense of identity, and how that shift during one’s lifetime due to generations of living abroad.

Imbuing the complexity of being multicultural, multinational, and multiracial is central to her works, as her paintings contrast the nostalgia of childhood memories with underlying feelings of being a foreigner simultaneously navigating Japanese and American communities. She illuminates self-discovery through narration and investigation of the otherness she has felt throughout her life,and uses it as a catalyst to reconnect with and reclaim space within her heritage.

For more info see: Maya Fuji at