When Rica Takashima, director of the project, immigrated in 2008, her status was that of an “alien” at JFK Airport. “Who is an Alien?” This made her feel strange, and prompted her investigation of this term and the creation of new Peekaboo-sculptures of fellow NYC ‘Aliens’. She found that the term ‘Aliens’ create doubt and mutual distrust in people's minds. She found that rapidly changing lifestyles are harsh and disorienting, and when people can't catch up with the tide of a changing world, doubt, anxiety and distrust are created. Through this project, she wants to change these anxieties to excitement.
The project was first launched at Aomori Museum of Art in 2010, followed by fiscal sponsorship by The New York Foundation for the Arts in 2013 which allowed her to start offering the projects to the New York City public. Her first public venue was P.S.122 Queens, whose students and families originated from over 40 countries, including Rica's own daughter. For community events, Rica was invited to several diversity- themed events including Viva La Comida Art & Music event, The Bronx Museum’s Boogie On The Boulevard and The Jackson Heights Arts Festival.
One thing she has learned in New York is that there are many people who, despite being American citizens, still feel like ‘aliens’. Those who dare to experiment and try things that have never been done before often feel isolated and 'alien'. She started to ask these “aliens” to be models for Peekaboo-characters. In 2015 the project was held at The Bronx Museum of the Arts via three month long art shows and 4 workshops which served 139 workshop participants and had an approximate total audience of 24,000.
Please take a look this fun 2013 annual Manga report: