Carlos Runcie Tanaka is an artist based in Lima, Peru. Tanaka’s work is intriguingly complex and operates on many social, cultural, and political levels. Orginally a ceramicist, he has used a variety of other mediums over the past several years and currently works with installation, site-specific works, and video production. His work stems from his own life experiences living in Peru as a descendent of British and Japanese grandfathers. This side of his work relates to the crab, which acts as a dominant symbol of migration, displacement, cultural identity, and adaptation.
Other pieces of his relate to the social and political situations of Peru. In the late 90’s, he was held hostage at the Japanese ambassadors house by the TARM group, a communist revolutionary group fighting against the imperialistic or authoritarian government in Peru (which was led by Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), a Peruvian of Japanese descent).
With this in mind, his work takes on an interest twist, especially when you start to research the political and social history of Peru. It was mentioned in an internet article by Stacy Holzer that his work is a way to foster spiritual growth and interethnic unity. Learning about his work and having the pleasure of meeting him during my undergraduate study, I could agree with this statement. He has a peaceful presence and expresses the desire to use the arts as a way to find compassion and understanding. What a interesting artist.