Krain, Yamada featured in exhibit that explores aloneness of creativity during COVID-19

Kensuke Yamada and Ben Krain
Kensuke Yamada and Ben Krain

Two University of Arkansas at Little Rock employees are featured in a new art exhibit at the Historic Arkansas Museum that converges around the artists’ observations and thoughts surrounding the aloneness of creating during the COVID-19 era.

The exhibit, “2020-21 Collectively Alone: Works by Benjamin Krain and Kensuke Yamada,” is curated by the Arkansas Arts Council and reflects on the experiences, moments, and thoughts of beauty and individuality. Whether in crowds or in solitude, some people have always been living in their own world.

The featured artists included Benjamin Krain, university photographer at UA Little Rock, and Kensuke Yamada, assistant professor of ceramics at UA Little Rock.

Kensuke Yamada's Bud Series
Kensuke Yamada’s Bud Series

“This exhibit is going to be about the reflection on the people and myself in everyday life,” Yamada said. “This idea can transfer somewhat to our life and time during the pandemic era. I think 2020 had many events, including the pandemic, to make us think about people, community, and myself. I requested to lift the pedestal up higher to eye level to ensure that people can experience the face-to-face moment and conjure reflection.”

While he’s spent decades photographing news events, disasters, and wars, Krain’s photos in the exhibit represent moments of everyday life that “are accessible to anyone with a camera and a desire to explore.”

“The more challenging photographs are those of everyday life,” Krain said. “The simple exploration of nothing. The moments in-between the moments. I find these unplanned encounters the most interesting. The content is not about the news. It is about the human spirit. These are the photographs in this exhibit. They can be taken by anyone. There is no special access or credential required other than just being present.”

A graduate of UA Little Rock, Krain spent more than 20 years as a photojournalist with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before joining the UA Little Rock Office of Communications and Marketing. He has won numerous state and national awards, and his work has been featured in publications like Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times.

Vertigo by Ben Krain
Vertigo by Ben Krain

A native of Japan, Yamada came to the U.S. to attend Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree and later a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Montana. He has traveled widely for professional residencies including Resident Artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana and the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, as well as guest and adjunct positions at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and more before joining the UA Little Rock faculty in 2018.

The exhibit will be housed in the Trinity Gallery for Arkansas Artists at the Historic Arkansas Museum until March 26, 2021. The exhibit can also be seen online.

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