Rika Ohara’s mother and grandmother lost their homes three times to air raids during WWII. She came to the U.S. as a painter and studied photography with Czech surrealist Vilem Kriz. She began making performance art works when the “trade war” with Japan was prominent in the American consciousness during the 1980s, finding in the form a way to combine her visual arts and dance training.
When the Paris American Center closed its theater in February 1996 (three months before the scheduled performance of Tokyo Rose), followed by personnel changes at ICA, the Walker Art Center and The Kitchen — who had all expressed interest in presenting the piece — Ohara converted performance-in-installation piece Shelter into a videodance installation, shooting the dance elements entirely in her 10’ x 13’ living room. The piece was shown in Paris, Monaco, Glasgow, Berlin and Tokyo.
Ohara next embarked on the production of her first feature film, The Heart of No Place, shooting it entirely on Digital8. The film has won the “Best Film” award at the London Independent Film Festival in 2010. Ohara is also a recipient of California Arts Council, California Community Foundation and C.O.L.A. Fellowships.