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Browse > Theme > Expression through art

49 articles

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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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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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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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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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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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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Crafting History: Arts and Crafts from America's Concentration Camps (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Desire to escape
  • Limited availability

2002 exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). Crafting History highlighted some 400 objects from JANM's collection made by Japanese Americans held in American concentration camps during World War II, ranging from a five foot tall Buddhist altar carved in Heart Mountain to bird pins, clothing and other textiles, and furniture. Curated by Kristine Kim, the exhibition opened on November 16, 2002. A full slate of public programs took place during the six-month run of the exhibition, including many crafting workshops. Craft items from the camps were also the subject of The Art of Gaman , a lavishly illustrated book published in 2005 and an exhibition that traveled around the country and in Japan starting in 2010.

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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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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 …

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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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 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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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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And Then They Came for Us (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Expression through art, Power of the past, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Documentary film that provides an overview of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans while drawing explicit parallels to agitation against Arab Americans in the early months of the Trump Administration.

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For Joy (film)

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

Short film that documents a visit by the contemporary musical duo No-No Boy—Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama—to Honolulu to see Joy Takeshita Teraoka, a singer with the George Igawa Orchestra at Heart Mountain . Invited by the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Club in 2018 to do a concert in Honolulu, the duo used it as an opportunity to meet Teraoka. At her Honolulu apartment, Teraoka talks about her time as a singer in Heart Mountain as a teenager and other aspects of camp life, including youth culture, Japanese cultural practices, and the general musical scene while singing old song with Aoyama. The film concludes with No-No Boy's concert, highlighted by a song Saporiti wrote for Teraoka titled "The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming" and by Teraoka joining them onstage.

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Three Boys Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Reunion
  • Widely available

Short documentary film about the three boys in the iconic Toyo Miyatake photograph that pictures them outside the barbed wire fence—with two of them grasping the fence—with a guard tower in the background. The three boys—Mas Ooka, Bruce Sansui, and Bob Takamoto—now men in their eighties, talk briefly about their memories of Manzanar and the things they did as kids there. Mas's daughter, Akemi Ooka, narrates the film, which concludes with a recreation of the photo at the Manzanar National Historic Site .

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Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience (film)

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

Masters of Modern Design profiles five Japanese American artists who made their mark on the postwar art world: Ruth Asawa , S. Neil Fujita , George Nakashima , Isamu Noguchi , and Gyo Obata. Using archival footage and stills along with interviews with the artists and their children, the film looks at their lives, the impact of their wartime incarceration, and their impact as artists in various media, focusing on the 1950s and 1960s. David Iwataki composed the period jazz soundtrack.

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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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