This project is part of I HeART Main Street, a program supporting Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) with the support they need to activate their main streets through public art and placemaking. This program engages BIAs, local artists and businesses across Ontario to create more vibrant and safe communities.
Project Type: Mural
Artist: Kellen Hatanaka
Project Statement: Downtown Stratford BIA commissioned artist Kellen Hatanaka to create this mural, titled "The Perfectionist", that reconsiders and dispels stereotypes of Asian representation within Western culture.
Artist Kellen Hatanaka discusses his work:
"“The Perfectionist” centres around a pianist - a subject to consider the representation and more specifically how Asians are represented within western culture. There are spaces and roles that are considered exclusive to Asians within dominant western culture as a result of systemic stereotyping and the depiction of the Asian figure in this piece is meant to dispel these stereotypes. The figure is confident, bold and is creating contemporary music and though the genre is unclear, he is not the prodigy of classical music that we have been conditioned to associate with Asian musicians. The subject’s home includes objects and symbols of cultural and historical significance. The basketball jersey that hangs on the wall bears the name Misaka, referencing Wataru Misaka, the Japanese-American point guard who in 1947 became the first player of colour to be drafted in the history of the NBA. Like Misaka, the figure in this painting is a representation of an Asian person we need to see more of- one that subverts stereotypes and broadens the perception of what and who we can be, which is anything."
About the BIA: The Downtown Stratford Business Improvement Area (BIA) is an association of downtown small business owners who work in partnership with the City of Stratford to create a thriving, competitive, and safe business area that attracts shoppers, diners, tourists and new business. By working collectively as a BIA, our local businesses have the organizational and funding capacity to be catalysts for civic improvement, enhancing the quality of life downtown and the City as a whole.
Thank you to our supporters! I HeART Main Street is presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and generously supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and funding provided by the Government of Ontario.