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Browse > Theme > Expression through art

45 articles

The Art of Gaman: The Story Behind the Objects (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Will to survive
  • Widely available

A short documentary film created by Rick Quan in 2010 to accompany the traveling exhibition, The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946 which features arts and crafts created by Japanese American internees while living in World War II concentration camps. The film includes stories about the inmates who created the objects included in the exhibition, as told by their children and grandchildren. It also includes an interview with the exhibition's curator, Delphine Hirasuna, who describes The Art of Gaman's purpose of celebrating the unique talents of these camp artists and helping people understand the larger story of the Japanese American mass confinement. The DVD release also includes Voices Long Silent, a 1980 short film by Bob Matsumoto, that was also shown in conjunction with The Art of Gaman exhibition.

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The Art of Living: Japanese American Creative Experience at Rohwer (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Displacement
  • Available

Exhibition of art objects created by Japanese Americans in Rohwer. Mounted in 2011 by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the exhibition was based on the collection of Mabel Rose Jamison Vogel, an art teacher at Rohwer. Vogel bequeathed the objects to McGehee, Arkansas, Mayor Rosalie Santine Gould, who in turn donated the collection to the Butler Center in 2010. The Art of Living included about 125 pieces, ranging from fashion sketches to bird pins to paintings in a wide variety of styles, augmented by photographs of the camp and interview segments with former Rohwer inmates. The project also includes an online version of the exhibition. Among the public programs tied to the exhibition's run were talks by Delphine Hirasuna, author of The Art of Gaman and by Vivienne Schiffer, daughter of Gould and author of the novel Camp Nine, which is set in a Rohwer-like concentration camp.

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The Brighter Side of Dark: Toyo Miyatake, 1895-1979 (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Immigrant experience
  • No availability

A 1996 short documentary film by Robert Nakamura about the life and career of Los Angeles photographer Toyo Miyatake. Through Miyatake's personal and artistic life (he was very much engaged with other modernists of the 1920s and '30s), the film reveals the vibrant artistic and intellectual milieu of Los Angeles's Little Tokyo district prior to World War II as well as the impact Executive Order 9066 and Miyatake's wartime incarceration had on his artistic career. Using a camera lens that he smuggled into the camp at Manzanar where he was incarcerated, Miyatake reconstructed a camera and eventually became the official camp photographer, producing iconic images of camp life and the landscape of the Eastern Sierras. After the war, Miyatake was able to reconstruct his photography business and resume work at his studio in Little Tokyo. For generations, he was the community's most trusted portrait photographer, enlisted for weddings, graduations, and ...

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Hiroshi Honda: Detained (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Evils of racism, Displacement
  • No availability

Exhibition featuring the internment art of Hiroshi Honda at the Honolulu Academy of Art (HAA) which ran from June 21 to September 9, 2012. Hiroshi Honda: Detained, was the HAA's second exhibition of Honda's art, after Reflections of Internment: The Art of Hawaii's Hiroshi Honda in 1994. The exhibition included drawings and watercolors produced during Honda's internment in camps in Hawai'i and in the continental U.S. drawn from the HAA's permanent collection.

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Lasting Beauty: Miss Jamison and the Student Muralists (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art
  • Limited availability

Exhibition featuring murals painted by Japanese American students at Rohwer High School under the direction of art teacher Mabel Rose Jamison Vogel. Lasting Beauty was one of eight exhibitions mounted in and around Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of the Life Interrupted project in 2004. It was later shown at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in 2005.

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Living in Color: The Art of Hideo Date (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Injustice, Immigrant experience
  • Available

Retrospective exhibition featuring the work of Issei painter Hideo Date at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) that opened in 2001. Curated by Karin Higa, Living in Color draws on works Date donated to JANM as well as works held by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Smithsonian American Art Museum from the 1930s to the 1980s. An established artist by the 1930s, Date was sent to Santa Anita and Heart Mountain during the war, where he taught art and formed an Art Students League at the latter. Best known for his watercolor and gouache painting before the war, he turned to pencil drawings while incarcerated due in part to the difficulty of obtaining painting materials while in camp. The exhibition includes several of these drawings. Unlike artists such as Henry Sugimoto or Estelle Ishigo, Date's wartime drawings do not depict scenes from the concentration camps, most being ...

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Relocations and Revisions: The Japanese-American Internment Reconsidered (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Displacement, Injustice, Evils of Racism
  • Limited availability

Exhibition at the Long Beach Museum of Art featuring work inspired by the wartime expulsion and incarceration by contemporary Japanese American artists, most of whom were too young to experience the concentration camps firsthand. Opening on May 10, 1992, Relocations and Revisions also included a program of videos and well as a catalog with both print and video components.

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Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Nature as beauty, Role of women
  • Available

Documentary profile of Nisei artist Ruth Asawa produced and directed by Robert Snyder. Of Forms and Growth includes footage of Asawa at home, in her garden and at work, and features the artist talking about her artistic influences and techniques. In particular, she highlights the influence of artists Joseph Albers and Buckminster Fuller, and the film includes footage of Asawa and Fuller. She goes on to talk about the various media she has worked with, including ink and oil paintings, wire and paper sculptures, and sculptures made from baker's clay. The film also explores Asawa's community work, particularly in establishing art programs in schools as well as a community arts festival. Photographer Imogen Cunningham talks about photographing Asawa and her family and about Asawa's marriage to Albert Lanier. Asawa's early life—including her wartime incarceration—is covered only briefly, and her later work that is influenced by Japanese American history is not ...

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Citizen 13660 (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir, Graphic Novels
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Expression through art, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Published in 1946 as the last camps were being shuttered, Nisei artist Miné Okubo's illustrated eponymous memoir, Citizen 13660, has the distinction of being the earliest, first-person, book-length account of the American concentration camp experience. Always a vigorous booster of her own work, Okubo promoted the book that came to define her career as "the first and only documentary story of the Japanese evacuation and relocation written and illustrated by one who was there."[1] All told, Okubo produced an estimated 2,000 portraits of camp life in a range of styles and materials, including ink, charcoal, and gouache, while imprisoned at the Tanforan temporary detention camp in California and the Topaz concentration camp in Utah. Okubo's voluminous output notwithstanding, it was primarily Citizen 13660's roughly 200 line-drawings that established her standing as a major chronicler of and historic witness to the camp experience.

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Harsh Canvas: The Art and Life of Henry Sugimoto (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Immigrant experience, Injustice
  • No availability

A 2001 biographical documentary film on the life and work of Issei artist Henry Sugimoto, based on the artist's memoirs and testimony before the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. The film highlights Sugimoto's art through archival and contemporary footage and follows his life's journey from immigration to his incarceration with his family during World War II in Arkansas, and postwar relocation to New York. Actor Mako narrates the film in the voice of Sugimoto. Interviews with his daughter Madeleine Sugimoto and sister-in-law Naomi Tagawa provide additional information on his life, while fellow artist George Mukai and curators Kristine Kim and Stephanie Barron discuss the significance of his work.

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Henry Sugimoto: Painting an American Experience (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Immigration experience, Displacement
  • Limited availability

Retrospective exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) featuring the work of Issei artist Henry Sugimoto, who was best known for his depictions of the wartime incarceration experience, many of them executed while he was confined at the Fresno, Jerome, and Rohwer camps. Debuting at JANM in 2001, the exhibition subsequently traveled to Sacramento and to Arkansas.

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Matsumi Kanemitsu: A Japanese American Artist (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art
  • Limited availability

Short profile of artist Matsumi "Mike" Kanemitsu that includes his own thoughts about his techniques and goals as an artist. Narrator Amy Hill provides a brief outline of his life and work accompanied by many photographs and the music of Miles Davis. His World War II experience as a Kibei in the U.S. Army is largely passed over to focus on his postwar art career.

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The Music Man of Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Optimism – power or folly, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A short documentary film by Brian Tadashi Maeda about Lou Frizzell, who came to the World War II American concentration camp at Manzanar to teach drama and music to the Japanese American high school students who were imprisoned there. The film includes interviews with his former students, who were inspired by Frizell's ability to help the students temporarily forget their circumstances and lose themselves to the beauty and power of music and the joy of being young. The film also includes re-enactments of Manzanar High students performing parts of Frizzell's operetta Loud and Clear. The second half of the film turns its attention to Arnold Maeda, the filmmaker's older brother and a student of Frizzell's who performed in Loud and Clear; we attend a 2002 ceremony at Santa Monica High School in which Maeda and other Japanese American students receive the diplomas they were denied by the mass incarceration and ...

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My Life with a Thousand Characters (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Expression through art, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

The creator of numerous Hanna-Barbera characters including those from Scooby Doo tells his life story, including his childhood as a Nisei in Los Angeles and his experience incarcerated at Manzanar concentration camp.

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Searchlight Serenade (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art
  • Available

A 2012 documentary film on Japanese American swing dance bands in the World War II concentration camps. Produced by Claire Reynolds for KEET, a Eureka, California, based public television station serving California's northern coast, the hour long documentary debuted on October 30, 2012. The film was funded by grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant program, the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, and the Humboldt Area Foundation (Victor Jacoby Artist Grant).

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The Journey (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 3-5
  • Picture Book, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A children's book by Sansei author and artist Sheila Hamanaka, published by Orchard Books in 1990. The Journey: Japanese Americans, Racism and Renewal is based on a 25-foot mural painted by Hamanaka that mixes the history of Japanese Americans with an emphasis on the American concentration camps of World War II with her own family's experience using a mixture of Japanese iconography, realism and caricature. The book features both close-ups of the mural as well as a panoramic view of all five panels, which are accompanied by the author's text, giving her perspective on history, tradition, and hope. It also includes a preface and afterword reflecting on these themes.

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The View from Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942-1945 (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Displacement, Injustice
  • Limited availability

The first-ever national exhibition of more than 130 paintings and other works of art produced by Japanese American artists during their incarceration in the World War II American concentration camps, timed to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the mass incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans. The exhibition was curated by Karin Higa and jointly coordinated by the Japanese American National Museum, the UCLA Wight Art Gallery, and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. It first opened at the Wight Art Gallery in Los Angeles on October 13, 1992, and ran until December 6, 1992, then subsequently traveled to the San Jose Museum of Art (January 15-April 10, 1994), Salt Lake Art Center (July 1994), Honolulu Academy of Arts (September 1994), and the Queens Museum New York (May 11-July 16, 1995).

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You Don't Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Feature-length documentary film on singer and actor Jack Soo. Based on interviews with friends and colleagues along with many clips from his film and television appearances, You Don't Know Jack also covers his time at Tanforan and Topaz during World War II.

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The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946 (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Displacement, Beauty of simplicity
  • Available

Traveling exhibition highlighting art and craft objects made by incarcerated Japanese Americans in wartime concentration camps. Curated by Delphine Hirasuna and based on the 2005 book of the same name, The Art of Gaman exhibition has traveled to fourteen venues since its debut in 2006.

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California's Gold with Huell Howser: Songbird of Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Reunion, Expression through art
  • Available

Episode 7003 of the long running California public television television series, California's Gold with Huell Howser. Filmed at the 2004 Manzanar Pilgrimage, this episode profiles two Nisei artists, painter Henry Fukuhara and singer Mary Nomura. Fukuhara is introduced by colleague Al Setton, and two of his paintings from the collection of the Japanese American National Museum are also highlighted. Fukuhara, who was just short of his ninety-first birthday at the time, is interviewed and is shown working on a painting. Nomura, the "Songbird of Manzanar," is interviewed about her singing exploits at Manzanar and is shown performing "The Manzanar Song" at the grand opening of the Manzanar Visitors Center.

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Days of Waiting (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, love and sacrifice, injustice
  • Limited availability

An award-winning 1990 documentary film by Steven Okazaki about the life and work of artist Estelle Peck Ishigo, a Caucasian woman who voluntarily entered the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming during World War II with her Japanese American husband. The film won an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject in 1991 and The George Foster Peabody Award.

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Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir, Art
  • Coming of age, Expression through art, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Oppression of women
  • Widely available

Concentration camp memoir by a Nisei artist. Ten years old at the time of the wartime incarceration, Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey was sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center and Amache with her older brother and Issei parents. Evolving from captions that accompanied displays of the author's postwar paintings, Gasa Gasa Girl intersperses stories of life in the camps with recollections of happier days with her parents, brother, and aunts in Hollywood, California, before the war. The book is illustrated by twenty-eight color reproductions of her watercolor paintings that depict both her external and internal lives during the war, as well as a like number of family photographs, archival photographs, and photographs of key objects mentioned in the text. Published by the University of Utah Press, the book includes an foreword by historian Cherstin Lyon.

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The Invisible Thread (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Memoir, Children's
  • Immigrant experience, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Expression through art, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Memoir for young adult readers by the acclaimed children's book author that covers her charmed childhood in Berkeley, California, and her wartime incarceration during World War II.

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Jimmy Murakami-Non Alien (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film about the expatriate Nisei artist and animator Jimmy T. Murakami, focusing on his and his family's wartime incarceration at Tule Lake and his return to Tule Lake as part of the 2009 pilgrimage. The film mixes live action footage set in the film's present with animated segments recalling the eight-year-old Jimmy's experiences in camp and also notes his formative years, his Hollywood career, and his life as an expatriate in Ireland. The film was produced in Ireland by Loop Line Film and directed by Sé Merry Doyle. It has screened in numerous film festivals in both Europe and the United States.

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Relics from Camp: A Video Journey (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Power of the past, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

Companion film to art installation of the same name produced and directed by artist Kristine Yuko Aono and narrated in her first-person voice. Aono explains the origins of the projects and includes footage of her and her family visiting various former concentration camp sites to collect dirt and artifacts as well as installation of the exhibition in three venues. The film also features three Nisei who contributed objects to the installation talking about the significance of those objects.

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