Tenyoh ( she )

Artist Statement

It is difficult to illustrate human complexities artistically. However, the messages that my art conveys are indispensable to society. Our humanity cannot grow without opportunities to reflect upon ourselves. Art is my vehicle to communicate that.

My former occupation as an international healthcare worker provided me with opportunities to associate with people from diverse backgrounds. The hands-on experience taught me that emotional commonalities were more striking than our differences. I believe this is true between individuals, across different cultures, and throughout human history. Therefore, my art does not represent any particular group of people. It depicts human nature collectively, capturing both strengths and weaknesses that may co-exist in the same heart. Even though my choice of art media has shifted from oil painting to ceramic sculpting, the central theme has remained unchanged.

My focus is to express subtle variations of emotion in my figure sculptures. I have also been experimenting with saggar firings (with combustible materials.) Annually, I intend to update this profile page with my 10 latest artworks. Little Buddhas and “Look Inside” Jars listed on this page were created for the Sculpture in the Park Show held in Colorado in August of 2023. My next exhibit is scheduled in Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, SD from May to November of 2024. A series titled “Take Me To Your Moon: Journeys Into The World Of Dementia” will be showcased in this solo show.


In Japan, where I was born, I studied brush and ink technique. In the USA I turned my attention to oils. Since 2012, I have been pursuing a full-time career as a self-taught ceramic sculptor. A South Dakota Arts Council’s Fellowship Grant, a recognition of artistic excellence, was awarded to me in 2023. With the encouraging achievement, I continue to seek solo or joint exhibits regionally. In addition, I teach clay hand-building (from intro to sculpting). I am especially excited about sharing my expertise with intellectually disabled adults and visually impaired seniors.