Born in Japan, Naomi Nakama moved to New Zealand with her family at the age of nine. After graduating from Elam School of Fine Arts with a BFA degree in 2003, she returned to Japan to re-connect with the Japanese culture. During her time there, Nakama developed an interest in special effects make up, assisting Tomoo Haraguchi on the horror film “Ashurajou no Hitomi”. In 2004 she returned to New Zealand. Her influences and experiences re-energised, Nakama resolved to focus solely on her art and jewellery making practice upon her return. Naomi has been exhibiting regularly since 2004 in group and solo exhibitions in New Zealand and Japan.
Naomi Nakama juxtaposes colour and texture, sometimes with elements of collage and assemblage in order to ‘agitate the air on the canvas’. She works with notions of ‘wabi sabi’ – a traditional Japanese idea of the simple art of imperfect beauty. Standing in front of her canvases, Nakama works intuitively and instinctively, a practice she compares to live improvisational jazz music.