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Hanako O’Leary

County: King County




Fellowship Awards 2023
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Grants for Artist Projects 2018
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Hanako O’Leary is a craft based sculptor and installation artist. She was born and raised by her Japanese mother and American father in the American Midwest. She grew up speaking Japanese at home, but English in school and everywhere else. Until Hanako turned 18, every year, for 2 months during the summer, her mother Sumiko brought her and her siblings back to their maternal home in the Seto Inlet Sea of Japan. This deeply influenced her spiritual beliefs, artistic voice, and feminine ideals.

Building off this personal history, Hanako looks to Japanese folk traditions of the Setonaikai Islands as a basis for her artwork. Through hand made objects, installations, and storytelling, Hanako explores this relationship with her matriarchal lineage and the complexities of feminine love, sexuality, and power.

Hanako gained her education within institutional walls and beyond. She has achieved many victories, both public and private while living and working as an artist in Seattle since 2011. Hanako is one in a long line of women to leave home on her own terms and live her own odyssey.

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The womb is a collective underworld

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Image: Peggy Piacenza, 2024 Fellowship Recipient

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