Artist Statement

As a multi-hyphenated individual, encompassing mixed race, genderfluid, and Asian American identities, I live at the intersections of diverse communities. In my artist practice, I use fantasy and costume to construct new and immersive worlds. Here, individuals with intersectional identities, like myself, can exist with infinite belonging and engage in radical play. The primary mediums of my practice are textile-based, all-satin sculptures screen printed, sewn, and sculpted into installations and wearables.

My aesthetics draw significant inspiration from my Japanese heritage. I grew up surrounded by my family's legacy of kendo, shogun armor, kimono making, and video game design. In my drawing, surface design and screen printing practice, I blend traditional craft with the starry-eyed spirits and robotic futurism of Japanese pop culture.

Japanese folkloric monsters, known as yokai, serve as recurring references in my art, often manifesting in self-portraits and installations. In these pieces,  I embody the hidden queer ancestors of my family by reimagining them as contemporary yokai creatures. Through this practice, I use original textile designs and vintage deconstructed kimono to transform the villainous portrayals of yokai monsters into aspirational figures empowered with the magic and camp of their queer identities. 

Currently, my focus lies in exploring the convergence of wearable sculpture and gender expansiveness. Through the creation of soft armors, I delve into the powerful ability of textile art to affirm and embrace non-binary and trans identities with an essence of playfulness, tenderness, and care.


Chanel Matsunami Govreau (they/she) is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. They have exhibited at the Pao Arts Center, Boston, MA; Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Seattle, WA; FiveMyles, Brooklyn, NY; SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA; Chashama, New York, NY; FLXST Gallery, Chicago, IL; and Holding House, Detroit, MI.

As an educator, Matsunami Govreau has over a decade of experience teaching photography and digital storytelling to young people. They’ve worked with arts organizations such as the Black School, YouthCan Seattle, The House of Ninja, and No Longer Empty. They are also the co-founder of Unblended, a workshop series on intersectional solidarity in Black and Asian friendships. In 2022 they were an inaugural recipient of the Bandung Residency for Black and Asian Solidarity and has since served as a mentor for this program.

As a lecturer and facilitator, they’ve presented workshops on interracial solidarity, queer Asian diasporic experience, and folkloric fantasy. They have given artist talks and workshops at universities and colleges including Duke University, Durham NC; Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA; Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK; Parsons School of Design, New York, NY; and College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI. 

Their work has appeared in publications such as Milk Papers, The Observer, Bitch Magazine and Juxtapoz. 

Matsunami Govreau received their BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011 where they studied performance, printmaking and Asian American Studies.