This piece will be on display in the Alumni Show at the John F Kennedy Arts and Consciousness Gallery, Berkeley, California, May 15-June 17, 2007.
I created this piece to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the internment of Japanese-Americans that occurred in the U.S. during World War II. Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorized the forcible internment of approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. Over two-thirds of those imprisoned were U.S. citizens, none of whom had shown any disloyalty.
The shrine is on display for viewers to read, participate with their own writings, and remember those who were imprisoned in America because of their race. The piece is created from a bird cage wrapped in rice paper and is reminiscent of an Obutsudan, a small Buddhist home shrine. Many of them were destroyed in America during W.W.II. The shrine glows like a Japanese paper lantern. The light from this shrine signifies the dignity and resilience of those who were imprisoned. The memories of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in the internment camps from 1942-46 are hidden behind shutters on the walls of the shrine. The viewer may interact with the shrine to reveal thoughts and memories from this challenging time. Many of these internees spent a substantial part of their childhood behind barbed wire in America.
Writings from parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were gathered from the families of Reiko Fujii, Mallory Nomura-Saul, and my own. Additional memories and thoughts were received through my alma mater, JFKU, and from responses to a posting on http://www.craigslist.org. I am honored to have been entrusted to share these memories and I respect the spirit, grace, and dignity expressed in them.
More of my art can be viewed at www.judyshintani.com