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.
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.
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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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.
Four of ten Tag Project groupings (Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, Minidoka, and Rohwer), will be at Bellevue Arts Museum in Seattle until September 8th, 2014. I will be giving a talk there on September 4, at the museum, from 7-8 PM.
For more information, please click on this link.
I owe a great deal of gratitude to the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, ArtObjectGallery, and The Japanese American National Museum of San Jose for hosting The Tag Project and Executive Order 9066 exhibitions, and for increasing awareness of the incarceration of Japanese American citizens in 1942. Cathy Kimball, the executive director of the SJICA went above and beyond in pulling together a stellar program around the exhibition. In addition to bringing The Tag Project to San Jose, the ICA has collected audio recordings of powerful stories surrounding the government issuance of Executive Order 9066 and life at interment camps. Click here to listen to the storytellers. They also presented a panel discussion titled Social Justice: Progress or Regress in America? which explores the emotional and societal impact of the WWII Japanese-American internment, the panel will explore the ways American society has progressed and/or regressed in terms of social and racial justice in our communities. What have we learned from our past? Is social justice still out of reach for many American citizens? How can we individually shape the future of our communities? Information on this panel discussion is described here.
The exhibition will close with a special performance by The Purple Moon Dance Project, who will perform When Dreams are Interrupted on May 25th.
I am most grateful to all who participated in helping to make this event so successful.