Our LELA Founder Hideo-san
December 3, 1935 July 30, 2023
Hideo Sakata -- or Sakata-san, as all of us, Japanese or not, prefer to call him. Mr. Sakata first came to my attention when I was Project Director for the Orange County Museum of Modern Art. I initially met him the LA Art Fair and later became further acquainted with him at a social event at the residence of Mitzi Landau. I was delighted to discover that he was an artist of beautiful vision and possessed a insightful philosophical interpretation on life as reflected and demonstrated in his powerful artistic skill.
In 1989, Carl Berg, Director at Sata Fine Art Gallery at Anton Place in Santa Ana, CA, asked me to become co-director of their gallery; the very first show we would produce and co-develope was for Hideo Sakata, giving him his first “one man show” in the United States. Peter Frank, as an authority and recognized art critic, was asked to write an introduction for the catalogue, and indeed provided a heartfelt and glowing review.
The Sakata exhibition was extremely well received and as such, embroiled in political controversy. Indeed, gallery windows were shot out in protest as an expression of cultural disapproval; often the kind of controversy that an artistic exhibition can create.
This was his humble beginning, from which he went on to evolve and bring together many creative and talented artists and meld a powerful energy of cultural diversity. This strong alliance of artists and their admirers has progressed to a powerful global level.
In 1991 Mr. Sakata, with the assistance from Lee Kye Song, P. Khemraj, and Yoko Kamijyo, collaborated and founded LELA, (Lantern of the East, - Los Angeles), located in Los Angeles, CA. To this day, LELA’s mission is to emphasize the points of unity between the East and West; drawing on the strengths of both traditions and cultures; it continues to have a global impact for its productive work dedicated to the arts and art education.
Since then, I have had the privilege of working with Hideo Sakata on a number of other international projects -- most of which have generously benefited the global artist community. I have witnessed his abundance of selfless energy and his undying willingness to sacrifice on behalf of his fellow artists. Hideo's LELA organization has been successful on many cultural levels and become a powerful connection, a conduit, between artists all over the globe.
On a local level, Los Angeles is a place where artists thrive on “community” but don't always know how to create it, something that Hideo is an expert at facilitating; he has given tirelessly to his local community of fellow artists. Indeed he personifies the fabric and sole of the a global artist community and continues his powerful legacy with a caring passion and a true love for the power of expression through the medium of art.
For me, Hideo Sakata-san has my full respect and admiration as a brilliant and noble artist.