| Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

Lydia Nakashima Degarrod

Anthropologist/Visual Artistat California College of the Arts
United States
Focus area: Anthropology, Fine Arts 3D

Lydia Nakashima Degarrod, Ph.D., is both a cultural anthropologist and a visual artist. Her anthropological research has concentrated on dreams and art-based ethnographies. She has conducted extensive research and published on dream interpretation and shamanism among the Mapuche of Chile, dream beliefs among San Francisco Bay Area residents, the legacy of long-term exile among Chileans in California, and the use and creation of art in ethnographic projects.  


For her research, she has received grants from the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research, Tinker Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has been a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Commonwealth Center for Literary and Cultural Change at the University of Virginia, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. 


Lydia has been a pioneer in incorporating visual art as an integral component of the ethnographic research, and she has created installations that blur the line between art and ethnography. She has created works that explore the beauty of dreams of heaven among the Mapuche (1997-98), miracles at the sites of unjust deaths in the streets of Santiago, Chile (2000-02), the interactions of people with birds at Lake Merritt (2005-6), the internal images of exile (2007-8) and the traces of REM memorable dreams in the streets of the Francisco Bay Area (2016-2018).   Her current work, Scattered Seeds of the Cotton Bolls, explores memories and the legacy of forced migration and incarceration during World War II among Japanese Latin Americans.  


For her artwork, she has received grants and awards from the California Council for the Humanities, Ministry of Culture of Chile, Saint John's University and the Wing Luke Memorial Museum. She has been an Artist in Residence at de Young Museum of Art, the Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and Kala Art Institute.  Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibits in art galleries and museums in the United States and abroad.