Oscar Oiwa was born in São Paulo, Brazil, son of Japanese immigrants. He received his B.F.A. (1989) from the School of Architecture and Urbanism, São Paulo University. Oiwa was influenced by comic books, art, and magazines throughout his youth, as well as the urban environment of his birthplace. He experienced contemporary art during this time exploring the local art scene in São Paulo in nearby galleries and became an assistant at the São Paulo Art Biennial during his college years. Oiwa held his first solo exhibition while he was still in college and soon after participated in the 21st São Paulo Art Biennial (1991). Throughout his career, he has participated in art globally, beginning in the city of his birth, then relocating to Tokyo in 1991 after graduating from university. After ten years in Japan, interrupted by a year spent in London in 1995, he moved to New York City in 2002 and has since made the city his base of operations. Over his career, Oiwa's oeuvre encompasses everything from tradition oil paintings, texts, and art objects to interactive immersive art, experimental VR project, fictional narrative-based installations, public art, and book production.
His artwork has been exhibited worldwide, with works in selected public collections, including but not limited to (in) The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (Tokyo), Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (Tokyo), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (Hiroshima), 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa(Ishikawa), Arizona State University Art Museum (Arizona), Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and University of São Paulo Museum of Contemporary Art (USP). He has received numerous awards throughout his career including Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2001), a grant from the Asian Cultural Council in 2002, and the Gottlieb Foundation Individual Support Grant (2021). In 2019, he receive the Medal of Honor from His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Japan.
2000 - Oiwa, Oscar. ART&ist, Gendaikikakushitsu Publishers, Tokyo
2006 - Zeitlin, Marylin. Gardening with Oscar Oiwa: New Paintings, Arizona State University Art Museum, Phoenix.
2008 - Chinzei, Yoshimi and Yamashita, Yuji. Oscar Oiwa: Painting in the Age of Globalization, Gendaikikakushitsu Publishers, Tokyo
2009 - Chinzei, Yoshimi; Bucci, Angelo and Minemura, Toshiaki. Asian Kitchen, Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, Tokyo/Beijing
2016 - Komatsuzaki, Takuro. Zeitlin, Marylin. Crivelli Visconti, Jacopo and Oiwa, Oscar. The Creation of the World, Kyuryudo Art-Publishing, Co., Ltd., Tokyo
2000 - Oiwa, Oscar. Journey to the Light, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Kyuryudo Art Publishing, Tokyo.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2020 – “The Dreams of a Sleeping World”, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena
2019 – “After Midnight”, Mizuma, Kips & Wada Art, New York
2019 – “Black and Light”, Cadillac House, New York
2019 – “Journey to the Light”, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
2019 – “Oscar Oiwa”, Hangar Art Center, Brussels
2019 – “Oscar Oiwa”, Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris, Paris
2018 – A Light-filled Ginza, Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo
2018 – “Oscar Oiwa in Paradise-Drawing the Ephemeral”, Japan House, São Paulo
2018 – “The Light from the Forest”, Keumsan Gallery, Seoul
2016 – “The World is filled with Light”, Art Front Gallery, Tokyo
2011 – “After Midnight”, Thomas Cohn Gallery, São Paulo
2011 – “Oscar Oiwa”, National Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro
2009 – ”Asian Kitchen”, BTAP, Beijing
2008 – “The Dreams of a Sleeping World”, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo / Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukushima / Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa (−2009)
2007 – “Fire Shop”, P.P.O.W., New York
2006 – “Invisible Reflex”, Ikeda Museum of 20th Century Art, Shizuoka
2006 – “Gardening with Oscar Oiwa”, Arizona State University Art Museum, Arizona (−2007)