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Maki Umehara was born in Aichi, Japan. She attended the Carnegie Mellon University exchange program in Pittsburg, the U.S. She has received master's degrees from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Sandberg Institut in Amsterdam, and a doctral degree from the Tokyo University of the Arts.

Umehara's work investigates the topics such as moving and travel, intervention of image and story in our reality. While using image and story she is especially interested in encountering the shifts in the meaning of things in psychological or physical dislocation, or collaboration and communication that arises as working processes. To perceive these processes, she records what remains necessary to her. Her projects include installation, artist books, photographs, videos and collaborative works as artist collective nüans (Anna Heidenhain, Elmar Hermann/2006-2016).