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Browse > Theme > Expression through art

45 articles

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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Letters to Eve (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Expression through art, Facing darkness, Love and sacrifice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Musical play that juxtaposes the experiences of a Japanese American family in Manzanar with that of an African American musician and his Jewish girlfriend held in captivity in a Nazi prison camp.

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We the People: The Stage Production (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence, Power of tradition
  • Available

Short film that documents the performance of the elementary school age students of Jan Ken Po Gakko in Sacramento on July 20, 2000. The production is highlighted by a play performed by the students based on Mary Tsukamoto and Elizabeth Pinkerton's book We the People .

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Sights Unseen: The Photographic Constructions of Masumi Hayashi (exhibition)

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

Retrospective exhibition of the work of photographic collage artist Masumi Hayashi held at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). Curated by Karin Higa, Sights Unseen included thirty of Hayashi's works—each of which are photo collages consisting of anywhere from five to one hundred forty individual photographs—including several from JANM's collection. This first survey of Hayashi's work included pieces from five different sets of work: abandoned prisons, EPA Superfund sites, Japanese American and Japanese Canadian concentration camps, sacred sites, and portraits of Nikkei . The five Nikkei portraits—of Fumi Hayashida, Yuri Kochiyama , Joy Kogawa, Miné Okubo , and Eji Suyama—were displayed for the first time.

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Reflections of Internment: The Art of Hawaii's Hiroshi Honda (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art
  • Displacement, Expression through art, Injustice
  • No availability

Exhibition of paintings by Hawai'i Kibei artist Hiroshi Honda, most of which depict the various internment and concentration camps he was held in during World War II. The paintings displayed came from a collection discovered and preserved by Honda's son, Ed Honda. Working with an ad hoc committee that included Bill Hoshijo and University of Hawai'i Professor Franklin Odo, the Hondas donated the collection to the Honolulu Academy of Art (HAA) (now the Honolulu Art Museum). With funding from the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Reflections of Internment opened at HAA on September 10, 1994, alongside a traveling exhibit, The View from Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942–1945 , a broader survey of art from the concentration camps. An accompanying thirty-three page catalog included essays by Odo and Marcia Morse and color reproductions of nineteen of the artworks; …

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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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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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The Cats of Mirikitani (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Disillusionment and dreams
  • Available

An award-winning documentary film from 2006 about a homeless Nisei artist named Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani and the friendship that develops with filmmaker Linda Hattendorf on the streets of New York.

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Designing the Path: Japanese American Architect, Gyo Obata (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Biography
  • Circle of life, Expression through art, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

Japanese-produced documentary film profiling Nisei architect Gyo Obata.

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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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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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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 …

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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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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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Ruth Asawa: A Community Artist (film)

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

Short documentary film on artist Ruth Asawa by Dianne Fukami. Produced as part of a follow-up project to the creation of the "Garden of Remembrance" at San Francisco State University, the documentary highlights Asawa's role in the garden and documents some of her other public art in San Francisco.

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Great Grandfather's Drum (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Importance of community, Power of the past, Power of tradition
  • Available

Documentary film that tells the story of Japanese Americans in Maui through the story of Maui Taiko and its founder, Kay Fukumoto.

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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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Eyewitness: Stan Honda: Reflections of a Photojournalist (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Biography
  • Expression through art, Facing darkness
  • Widely available

Short documentary film about photojournalist Stan Honda, who gained fame for the photographs he took of the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

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

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

Companion video to the 1992 exhibition of art inspired by the wartime exclusion and incarceration at the Long Beach Museum of Art that features interviews with the mostly Sansei artists featured in the exhibition.

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Masao and the Bronze Nightingale (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Expression through art, Lost love, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short story by Rubén "Funkahuatl" Guevara about a Nisei zoot suiter and saxophone player in East Los Angeles before and after World War II. Masao Matsui and his buddies Lil' Joe Casillas and Isamu Imoto grow up in Boyle Heights playing jazz and dressing in elaborate zoot suits prior to the war. Masao dreams of leading a band one day. His dreams are interrupted by World War II and his forced incarceration at Manzanar. He passes time playing jazz records and plays in the Jive Bombers in camp. After the war, he returns to Little Tokyo and works as a janitor, while soaking up the local jazz scene that sprang up there as part of "Bronzeville," the African American settlement that formed during the war. Then, one night at a club, he meets a dazzling singer who called herself the Bronze Nightingale, and his life is turned upside down.

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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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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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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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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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Mitsuye and Nellie: Asian American Poets (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Female roles, Power of words, Role of women
  • Available

One of the earliest documentaries to broach the topic of Japanese American wartime incarceration, Mitsuye and Nellie profiles Asian American poets Mitsuye Yamada and Nellie Wong, showing them reading their poetry, meeting their family and visiting the Minidoka and Angel Island sites.

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