EO9066 and The Tag Project at Boise Art Museum

I am pleased to announce that my exhibition, EO9066, accompanied by my project, The Tag Project has been included in a large exhibition, “Minidoka: Artist as Witness” at the Boise Art Museum in Idaho.   My tag grouping, Minidoka, was acquired by the Boise Art Museum in 2015 and this marks the first time their acquisition will be on view in their permanent home.

Three of the artists included in the exhibition—Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964), Kenjiro Nomura (1896-1956), and Roger Shimomura (b. 1939)—were relocated to Minidoka from Seattle, Washington, with their families during WWII. Both Fujii and Nomura painted a large number of works during their incarcerations. Their watercolors, set in the terrain of southern Idaho, are dotted with barbed wire and guard towers, providing intense and intimate depictions of the Japanese American incarceration experience.

Also on view are large-scale paintings by Roger Shimomura, who spent two years at Minidoka as a young boy. In The Lineup, which portrays a group of men and boys queuing outside the lavatory, Shimomura intends to lay bare the uncomfortable and often humiliating day-to-day realities of living at Minidoka. In American Infamy No. 2, on the other hand, he means to expose the political and military mindset that allowed EO 9066 to go unchecked.

Selected works from photographer Teresa Tamura’s (b. 1960) recent book project Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp will also be on view. Tamura’s photo series documents Minidoka today and follows up with former residents. The first photograph she took for the series is a portrait of artist Roger Shimomura, which was taken at the Boise Art Museum in 2001—the same year that President Clinton designated 72.75 acres of the original Minidoka War Relocation Center as the 385th National Park Service unit.

I am very excited and honored to be showing with these individuals, and I look forward to seeing the exhibition.

I will be giving a talk on Wednesday, November 9th at 6 PM which will be held at:

Boise State University
Special Events Center

1800 University Drive
Boise, ID 83706

Tickets may be purchased at this link.

The exhibition opened October 8, 2016 and will close on January 15, 2017.

Organized by the Boise Art Museum

Sponsored by the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation and supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, the Boise Valley Japanese American Citizens League, and the Snake River Japanese American Citizens League.

The Tag Project is at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Center for Community Programs in Maine!

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The Tag Project at Haystack’s Center for Community Programs, Deer Isle, Maine

Jenn Anderson hiding in the Tags!

Jenn Anderson hiding in the Tags!

This was a very cool installation because it is in a much smaller space, and the tag groupings really take command of the space.   Very nice opportunity to see this work in different situations.

Royal’s Don Wakamatsu Carries Lessons Learned from Grandparents’ Ordeal in Incarceration Camps

In a Fourth of July statement in 1945, President Harry S. Truman urged Americans to “honor our Nation’s creed of liberty” as our armed forces remained deployed around the globe helping douse the final smoldering of World War II.

“Citizens of these other lands will understand what we celebrate and why … others will join us in honoring our declaration that all men are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

But the credibility of Truman’s words was diminished by irony, if not outright hypocrisy:

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, some combination of paranoia and racism had provoked the land of the free to herd, relocate and incarcerate more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans who would struggle to return to society.

Some 60 percent of them were U.S. citizens, and many of the others would well have been if not for the 1924 Oriental Exclusion Act.

None of this dehumanizing treatment, none of the images of abruptly surrendering property and being crammed into trains and whisked away behind barbed-wire fences and being administered a convoluted, soul-draining loyalty oath, was spoken about in the home of Don Wakamatsu, the bench coach for the Royals.

Manzanar Committee Denounces Profiteering From Japanese American Concentration Camp Artifacts

Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES ? On April 12, the Manzanar Committee, sponsors of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, and the more recent Manzanar At Dusk program, denounced the April 17, 2015 auction by Rago Arts and Auction in which artifacts from the concentration camps in which over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were unjustly incarcerated during World War II will be sold.

The auction, which will feature 450 prisoner craft objects, personal items, art works and heritage artifacts from the camps, were given to Allen H. Eaton, the original collector, under the assumption that they would be put on exhibit to educate people about the Japanese American Incarceration experience.

?They offered to give me things to the point of embarrassment, but not to sell them,? Eaton wrote in his book, Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the Japanese In Our War Relocation Camps, published in 1952.

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Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066 at San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design

Opens October 4 through January 4, 2015

Organized by the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston, Massachusetts, the Museum of Craft and Design is the final stop of this traveling exhibition funded by the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the internment of tens of thousands of American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry.  Wendy Maruyama, a third generation Japanese-American and highly regarded artist/furniture maker based in San Diego, has created a compelling body of work examining this period in American history.

Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066 includes three integrated parts: the Tag Project, Executive Order 9066 and a selection of historical artifacts.

The Tag Project consists of 120,000 replicas of the paper identification tags that internees were forced to wear when they were being relocated. The tags are grouped into ten sculptural bundles and suspended from the ceiling, each bundle represents one of the camps.  They evoke a powerful sense of the humiliation endured by the internees and the sheer numbers of those displaced.

Executive Order 9066 involves a series of wall-mounted cabinets and sculptures referencing themes common in the interment camps. Maruyama’s pieces integrate photo transfers based on the documentary photographs of Dorothea Lange and Toyo Miyatake in conjunction with materials such as barbed wire, tarpaper and domestic objects.

Maruyama’s addition of actual objects owned or made by the internees brings an intensely personal awareness to the impact of Executive Order 9066.  Included objects range from actual suitcases used by families during their relocation to an array of items made from available materials in the camps.

Organized by The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA

Exhibit design: Ted Cohen

The exhibition and catalogue are generously funded by the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

The Museum of Craft and Design’s exhibitions and programs are generously supported by the Windgate Charitable Foundation and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.