Masumi Hayashi

Cleveland, OH


Masumi Hayashi an artist, photographer, and professor, was born in the Gila River Relocation camp in Arizona in 1945 and passed away in 2006. Her photography had gained attention in the US, Europe, and Japan. Her work was exhibited and represented in many respected museums and galleries, including the International Center for Photography in New York, the LA County Art Museum, the Japanese American National Museum (LA), the Tokyo Museum of Photography, the Ludwig Museum of Art in Germany, and the Victoria and Albert Museum of Photography in London, England. In 2003, she had a retrospective one-person exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Dr. Hayashi was a tenured professor at Cleveland State University, where she taught for 24 years. She received a Doctorate of Fine Arts (posthumous) from Cleveland State University in 2006. Dr. Hayashi earned her BFA in 1975 and her MFA in 1977 from Florida State University in Photography.

She was been working on the "Asian temples and sites of ancestral worship" project since 1999. Her first photographic journey to India was funded by a fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council in 1999 and her fourth trip was funded through a Fulbright research fellowship in 2003. Dr. Hayashi was awarded the 1994 Cleveland Arts Prize for visual arts. She received an Arts Midwest, NEA fellowship in 1987, a Civil Liberties Educational Fund for a research fellowship in 1997, and three Ohio Arts Council artist fellowships and project grants.

Dr. Hayashi was known for her panoramic photo collages of the Japanese American internment camps. The landscape photographs in the project reflects history, memory and archeology. The photographic project grew to include audio interviews of internees, family album snapshots of internees and their stories. The project began in 1990 and continued to photo collage portraits of the Japanese American internees. Her other project panoramic photo collages include post-industrial sites, abandoned prisons, EPA Superfund Sites in Ohio, and City Works. Her new website, called The Masumi Hayashi Museum, includes over 200 images of her work and since her passing has expanded to take on a more archival focus. (See:

Her photographs were published in Doubletake (fall 1997), Aperture (Beyond Wilderness, fall 1990), See, a journal of visual culture (issue 1:1), and Mother Jones (April 1995), Creative Camera (1993, London), Die Ziet (1999, Germany), Photo Italia (2003, Italy). Her exhibitions were reviewed in various newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, and The Japan Times. She was one of the artists featured in the Robert Stearns' Dialogue Magazine article, "Genius, Imagine what could happen." (2001).

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