On Being Yukiko art by Jeff Chiba Stearns and Lillian Michiko Blakey

May 1-29, 2021

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Jeff Chiba Stearns

Founder of Meditating Bunny Studio Inc.

Jeff Chiba Stearns is an animator and documentary filmmaker best known for his feature length documentaries, One Big Hapa Family (2010) and Mixed Match (2016). He is also an accomplished author and illustrator. Jeff, who is of Japanese and European heritage, has been an international spokesperson on mixed-race identity since his 2005 short animated film “What Are You Anyways?”. Born in Kelowna, BC, Jeff studied Film Animation at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, graduating in 2001, and soon after founded Meditating Bunny Studio Inc. in Vancouver. Since then, Jeff’ short animations, such as Yellow Sticky Notes (2007), and feature length documentaries have been screened around the world in hundreds of film festivals, broadcast on various major networks and have won dozens of awards and accolades, including a Webby Award and an Emmy® nomination.

Jeff describes his animation style as “Hapanimation”, a blend of Japanese and North American styles. Jeff has published articles and lectured around the world about multiracial identity, cultural awareness, filmmaking, animation, and film distribution. He is also a co-founder of the annual Hapa-palooza Festival in Vancouver. Lately Jeff has focused his creativity on writing and illustrating children's books including Mixed Critters (2018) and Nori and His Delicious Dreams (2020). In 2021, he co-authored and illustrated his first graphic novel entitled, On Being Yukiko, with famed Japanese Canadian artist, Lillian Michiko Blakey. The graphic novel is the first to address themes of Japanese Canadian history and identity.

Lillian Michiko Blakey

Lillian Michiko Blakey is a sansei, a third-generation Japanese Canadian.  She is a past president of the Ontario Society of Artists, which was founded in 1872. Her artwork can be found in the Government of Ontario Art Collection and the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, British Columbia, as well as in private collections in many countries.