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.
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.
Executive Order 9066 opened at the Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, Arizona on Friday, September 27th, 2013. This will be the 4th venue for this exhibition. It was significant to bring this exhibition to Arizona, since two very large incarceration centers were located in that state: Poston was one of the largest camps at about 20,000 incarcerees, and Gila River held about 18,000. Heather Sealy Lineberry and her installation staff did a terrific job of installing this exhibition: the individual wall pieces were very well integrated with The Tag Project installation in this large space. The interpretive objects were seen on opposite ends of the gallery space itself. I have been intrigued with how different the exhibition has looked in every venue, all were quite wonderful and had its own character.
These photos were captured with my humble little iPhone but I hope to receive professional installation shots from the museum at some point.
view from the entrance of the exhibition
My mother chatted with a visitor, whose family was incarcerated at Topaz, and she was able to find the tags of some of her friends and family.
On Sunday, my mom and dad (Reiko and John Maruyama) was interviewed by Claudia Katayanagi, a filmmaker who is working on a project for the National Parks Service, focussing on the Leupp Citizen Isolation Center specifically, but also about the whole incarceration of the Nikkei during World War II in general. She filmed an interview with Norman Mineta in July at the National Japanese American Museum symposium in Seattle, as well as Tom Ikeda of Densho, and historians Roger Daniels and Greg Robinson. Professor Tetsuden Kashima is a central figure and her mentor on this project. I was pleased for my mom, as she will have the opportunity to speak about her very difficult experiences having evacuated her home and did not go to any of the incarceration centers. I believe that she represents an invisible population of Japanese Americans who suffered great hardships that were different from those who went to these camps. My Dad was already in Colorado before the war broke out and so he brings a different perspective to the experience. Claudia interviewed me on Saturday, and will include me in a segment of interviews of several Japanese American Artists about their experiences and or interpretations of EO9066 for this film.
Executive Order 9066
opened on February 7 at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock.
The choice of Arkansas as an exhibition venue was supremely important to me because there were two internment camps in the state (Rohwer and Jerome), just within 100 miles of Little Rock.
Attendees of this exhibition will be in for a real treat: the Arts Center has collaborated with the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies and the Arkansas Center for History and Culture to organize Relics of Rohwer: Gaman and the Art of Perseverance, a related exhibition documenting the experiences and artwork of Japanese Americans at Rohwer, one of two internment camps located in Arkansas.
The fabulous artwork is on loan from the Mabel Rose Jamison Vogel/Rosalie Santine Gould Collection, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System.
All photos on this page are by Cindy Momchilov.