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Japanese American commissioned by MLB to make All-Star AAPI art

A Japanese American artist created artwork honoring Asian American baseball for Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game.

Casey Kawaguchi, a renowned Denver muralist, reconstructed a photograph of Japanese baseball player Tetsuo “Tets” Furukawa. According to the Santa Barbara Independent, Furukawa played for his Arizona incarceration camp’s team during World War II.

“I’m painting this one for my Dad, my brother Adam, and my Great Grandfather Chohachi ‘Gi-Gi’ Fujita,” Kawaguchi wrote on Instagram of his piece, titled Tets. “The love of baseball has been passed down through the generations and I’m grateful to have this opportunity to pay homage to Japanese American Baseball.”

Kawaguchi produced the painting as part of the city’s All-Star Alliance: Denver’s Cross-Cultural Muralists exhibit at the recently reopened McNichols Civic Center Building, according to the building’s website. The exhibit will be open until October 3.

Kawaguchi, along with other muralists, painted his creation live at the museum on Saturday and Sunday. The other selected artists include Karma Leigh, Tuke One, Detour, LaDopa, Moe Gram and Zaida Sever, according to the Civic Center.

KDVR teports Kawaguchi isn’t the only artist to focus on people of color in baseball. While Kawaguchi’s work highlights the theme of “Asian American Pacific Islander X Baseball,” Sever will produce art spotlighting the Negro Leagues.

The MLB All-Star Game will take place July 13 at the Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field.

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