Roger Shimomura’s paintings, prints and theater pieces address sociopolitical issues of Asian America and have often been inspired by 56 years of diaries kept by his late immigrant grandmother.
He received his B.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle and his M.F.A. from Syracuse University, New York. Shimomura has had over 100 solo-exhibitions of his paintings and prints, as well as presented his experimental theater pieces at major venues across the country. He is the recipient of over 30 grants, including 4 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in Painting and Performance Art. Shimomura has been a visiting artist and lectured on his work at over 200 universities and art museums across the country. In 1999, the Seattle Urban League designated a scholarship under his name that since has been awarded annually to a Seattle resident that is pursuing a career in art. In 2002, the College Art Association presented him with the Artist Award for Most Distinguished Body of Work, for his 4 year, 12 museum national tour of the painting exhibition, An American Diary. The following year he delivered the Alumnus Award for the University of Washington, the highest honor that school bestows upon their graduates.
In the fall of 1990, he was appointed the Dayton Hudson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota. At the University of Kansas where he taught since 1969 he was designated an University Distinguished Professor in 1994, the first so honored in the history of the School of Fine Arts on that campus. In 1998, he was the recipient of the Higuchi Research Award, the highest annual honor awarded a faculty member in the Humanities and Social Teaching Award for sustained excellence in teaching and dedication to students at the University of Kansas. In 2004 he retired from teaching and started the Shimomura Faculty Research Support Fund, and endowment to support faculty research in the Department of Art.
Shimomura’s personal papers are being collected by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
“I have relied heavily upon family oral history as well as on the published and unpublished stories written by my late grandmother . . . I have also referred to old family photographs, and most important, Mrs. Shimomura’s personal diaries, maintained by her for 56 years. This vast collection of materials has been integrated into my personal accumulation of videos, films, slides, writings, audio tapes, and other materials related to cross-cultural matters.”