Toshiko Takaezu: Heritage as it Relates to Artistic Adversity

The art world is filled with popular names that are globally recognized- Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Picasso, but female artists and their contributions to the art world are often overlooked or undervalued.  

Ada Schlapkohl, an MSUM sophomore and studio art major with an emphasis in ceramics, will use the Student Academic Conference to bring attention to Toshiko Takaezu, a female artist deserving of more recognition. 

"We need more art in education because it creates more avenues for students to express themselves," she says.

Ada’s emphasis in ceramics led her to choose Toshiko Takaezu, a 1900’s Japanese ceramics artist, as her presentation topic. Toshiko grew up in Hawaii and was artistically active following the period after the second World War. Some of her ceramics embody spiritual elements whereas others display her blend of eastern and western cultures.  

Ada’s presentation will focus on those cultural elements in Toshiko’s art and what it reveals about the artist herself and the art world.

Although she has not presented before, Ada attended last year’s conference and was inspired by her peers’ presentations. As she prepares to present, she reflects on the benefits of presenting and how it can improve one’s public speaking skills.

“Presenting at the conference develops your intellectual ability and being able to explain something to others is when you know that you really understand it,” she says.

Along with recognizing the benefits the conference provides, Ada believes research is essential for education and encourages students to explore research opportunities and grow their skill sets. She is also an advocate for supporting local artists in the community. 

“Research always leads to more education, and you can never be too educated,” she says.

Ada hopes her presentation will inspire others to learn more about female artists and their contributions to the art world. Don’t miss the chance to hear her presentation at the Student Academic Conference on April 18.

View the Student Academic Conference schedule.

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