SOUTHFIRST 60 N6th Street  Brooklyn, NY  11211     ph 718 599 4884





Ellen Takata

March 17 – April 8, 2012


SOUTHFIRST is proud to present “Subtitles,” an installation including eight new paintings by the artist Ellen Takata. The small-sized oil paintings are couched within a backdrop of vintage Hawaiian cloth swatches to create a room-sized installation. The exhibition will be on view from March 17 – April 8, 2012. There will be a closing reception for the artist from 2-6 pm on Sunday, April 8.


The Aloha shirt originated in the 1930s as an item for tourists to Hawaii; cut out of old kimono fabric, the shirts were quickly adopted as a local way of dress. “Aloha Attire” is currently appropriate for weddings, funerals and other formal events. In “Subtitles,” the incorporation of vintage Aloha shirt fabrics evokes the artist’s family heritage: graphically patterned Hawaiian prints predominate, remnants of fabric swatches saved by Takata’s family during the 1950-70s, collected from Aloha shirt making factories. Takata’s installation combines paintings that evoke the visual effect of subtitled Japanese and Hong Kong films of the 1980s to the present, with the Japanese-American textile heritage of Hawaii. In one piece, a shibori-dyed summer kimono garment and a striped Aloha shirt material evoke an American flag; in another, her father’s Aloha shirt from the 1960s hangs beside a red Chinese-style dress. The paintings of moments taken from films include yellow subtitles, signs which mediate between Japanese visual culture and Western linguistic identity.  


Born in Boston, Mass., Ellen Takata graduated from Harvard in Visual and Environmental Studies, and Goldsmith’s College in London. She moved to New York in 2000. She currently lives and works in the Boston area. This is her first solo show at Southfirst.


SOUTHFIRST, founded in 2000, is located on 60 N6th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn between Wythe and Kent Avenues. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday from 1-6 PM and by appointment. Subway: L train to Bedford Avenue.  For more information, please contact Maika Pollack at 718 599 4884 or