Works by Sansei artists address American concentration camps
MONTEREY – âShadows from the Past: Sansei Artists and the American Concentration Campsâ opened at the Monterey Museum of Art on September 9 and will be on view until January 9, 2022.
In mid-winter 1942, under Executive Order 9066, the US military forcibly expelled 120,000 US citizens of Japanese descent, including men, women, and children, from their homes and businesses. They were transported with only the personal effects they could take and jailed for up to four years in hastily made tar paper barracks in heavily guarded camps throughout the American West – which the U.S. government and media euphemistically called âresettlement centersâ but were in fact American concentration camps.
This historic incident inspired the Monterey Museum of Art’s âShadows from the Pastâ exhibition. Curated by Gail Enns, this exhibition features paintings, photographs and sculptures by eight renowned Sansei artists as well as historical artifacts related to the camps and the legacy of Japanese Americans in Monterey.
Together, these selected works invite visitors to reflect on the personal and collective impact of wartime internment – what President Gerald Ford has called our “national mistake” and George HW Bush has acknowledged that it is. was acting “a great injustice, and it will never happen again.”
âOver the past few years, I have focused on Sansei artists – third generation Japanese-American artists – whose works confront the displacement and injustice of US Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the forced relocation and the incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. War II. These artists represent the latest generation with a direct connection to those illegally imprisoned in American concentration camps, and their art sheds light on a painful chapter in American history.
âWhile the survivors of previous generations have shown silence and gaman (endure the unbearable with patience and dignity), a significant emotional trauma was nevertheless passed on to subsequent generations. For those of the Sansei generation, speaking openly about this inherited trauma is courageous. Creating art to share in a public setting is powerful and transformative.
âAs curator, my role is to create a frame of reference allowing the public to contemplate these works. The works of “Shadows from the Past” not only express courage and vulnerability, but also remind viewers of the important role the arts play in changing our perspectives on our common American culture and history.
âI would like to thank those who devoted their time, energy and expertise to this exhibition. These include Larry Oda for his encouragement and assistance in providing access to the Monterey JACL Archives collection, and Jan Marlese, director of the LH Horton Jr. Gallery at San Joaquin Delta College, who developed the exhibit online when the COVID-19 pandemic was postponed. the exhibition at the Monterey Museum of Art. I also express my gratitude to Corey Madden, John Rexine and the staff of the Monterey Museum of Art for their support and providing the necessary resources to have the exhibit reassembled in the Monterey Museum of Art after it reopens.
âFinally, I would like to thank the artists for their creative and personal contributions. The success of this project is due to the generosity of all these people.
âMonterey was one of the few communities in California to take in Japanese Americans after World War II. More than 400 residents including John Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts and Edward Weston have signed a petition proclaiming Monterey a sanctuary city for families returning from camps. At a time when our nation is once again facing hatred, racism and xenophobia, their alliance is a powerful reminder of our community’s commitment to justice and unity.
Jerry takigawa is a photographer, designer and writer. He is the founder and creative force of the PIE Laboratories of the Center for Photographic Art. He is the recipient of the Imogen Cunningham Award, the Clarence J. Laughlin Award, the CENTER’s Curator’s Choice Award and the Rhonda Wilson Award. Her work is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, and the Monterey Museum of Art.
Masako takahashi is the only artist in the exhibition born in an American concentration camp. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Berkeley and has exhibited her work internationally, including Art in General (New York); El Museo de la Ciudad de Queretaro (Mexico); The Natural History Museum (Mexico City); Shibori International Symposium (Hong Kong); Centraal Museum (Netherlands); Asian Art Museum (San Francisco).
Bay Area Artist Reiko fujii has exhibited at the Berkeley Art Center, Bedford Gallery (Walnut Creek), di Rosa Preserve (Napa), Olive Hyde Gallery (Fremont), JFK University Art Gallery, Cal State Hayward Art Gallery, SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco and Fresno State University’s Henry Madden Library.
Furniture maker, artist and educator Wendy Maruyama has been doing innovative work for over 40 years. Maruyama’s work can be found in the permanent collections of national and international museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Australia; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Art and Design, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte; Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton; Mingei International Museum, San Diego; and the Oakland Museum of California.
Tom nakashima is an internationally exhibited artist who has had over 30 major solo exhibitions. His work has appeared or been the subject of criticism in Art in America, Artforum International, Art News, The Washington Post, The Paris Review, The New Art Examiner, Southern Accents, and Elle Magazine. He has received numerous awards and scholarships, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for Painters & Sculptors. His work is in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, L’Hermitage and many other museums. Nakashima is Professor Emeritus at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC
Lydia Nakashima Degarrod is a visual artist and cultural anthropologist who creates works that blur the lines between art and anthropology. She has exhibited works at the David Rockefeller Center Gallery at Harvard University; De Young Museum; the Meridian Gallery (San Francisco); Center for Latin American Studies (University of California at Berkeley); University of Virginia; Center for Imaginative Ethnography (Vancouver); and SOMArts Cultural Center (San Francisco). She was Artist in Residence at the de Young Museum of Art, Visiting Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University.
Lucien Kubo has shown her work primarily in social justice exhibitions including “The Pursuit of Hope”, ARRT, Santa Cruz; âEndangered Species,â Cabrillo College, Davis; âGeneration Nexus: Peace in the Postwar Eraâ, NJAHS, San Francisco; âA Required Assembly: Race, Gender and Globalization,â UCSC at the California Folk Art Museum of LA; and âDistillations: Meditations on the JA Experienceâ, JFK University, Berkeley. Personal exhibitions include the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery at UCSC, Santa Cruz; the Asian Resource Center, Oakland; and the Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz. Other exhibition venues include the Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz; Sevastopol Arts Center; Joyce Gordon Gallery, Oakland; and Heritage Foundation, SF Kubo has received awards from Porter Gulch review, Graphic Artist of the Year, Winner’s Circle, SCAL and Cover Art for Signs,Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Rutgers University.
Na Omi Judy Shintani has received numerous awards and exhibitions and his work has been shown across the country. Personal exhibitions include the Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara; Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts; Ruth’s Table, San Francisco; the Peninsula Art Museum, Burlingame; and the Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM. Shintani is a member of the Asian American Women’s Artist Association and the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art. She founded the Kitsune Community Art Studio in Half Moon Bay and currently teaches at Foothill College. She holds an MA in Transformative Art from JFK University and a BA in Graphic Design from San Jose State University.
The museum is located at 559 Pacific St., Monterey. Hours: Thursday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day. Admission: $ 15 for adults; free for students and active military with ID, 18 and under, museum members, NARM and AAM members.
For more information, call (831) 372-5477 or visit https://montereyart.org/.