Santa Fe Internment Camp – Storytelling and Ritual Event

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During my artist residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute, I learned that the history of the New Mexico internment camps was not well known, and people wanted to know more.

My focus became, how could art bring understanding and connection to the communities in Santa Fe?  I wanted to inform the public about this history that has touched my own Japanese American family and invite people of other cultures to express their stories of displacement, unjust incarceration, and immigration journeys.

I decided to create an experiential space incorporating modalities like drawing, movement, speaking, listening, and re-enactment.

Participants were invited to create a presence for those they wanted to remember. Just the simple task of striking a pose of a loved one and being outlined in red crayon, connected the collaborators, and spontaneous memories were shared. These ancestor drawings on the gallery walls created a safe and sacred place for remembering.

It was a very moving event with many voices, quiet support, some tears, and an overall powerful energy of compassion. People traveled from as far away as Taos, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque to attend. The walking meditation lead by Eliane Allegre with the music provided by Glen Neff put the participants in a contemplative space to consider stories of incarceration, immigration, and displacement. 15 storytellers came forward to share internee memories and other difficult and heartfelt experiences.

The gallery event was followed by the visit to the Santa Fe Internment Marker. It was chilly, windy and clear beautiful day. We carried symbolic suitcases, like the prisoners traveling to a place unknown. Upon arriving the cases were opened and the folded cranes and flowers inside were used to embellish the marker. Historian and writer Nancy Bartlit and Victor Yamada of the NM Japanese Citizen League, spoke about the marker history and future plans to bring more visibility to the history of the New Mexican Internment Camps.

You may ask, why is it important to share this history from 73 years ago? In the United States today, we are still imprisoning innocent families, like those from Central America. In a world of terrorist atrocities, the backlash of racial and ethnic prejudice is rampant. We must find ways to understand and connect to each other and art is a powerful way to do it.

Thank you to all of you who supported this special sharing event. It couldn’t have happened without the team of Victor Yamada, Sue Rundstrom, Nancy Bartlit, Santa Fe Art Institute, Glen Neff, Eliane Allegre, and many others.

Thank you to the Santa Fe Art Institute for selecting me for the immigration artist in residence program.




“When nothing is sure…”

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”

— Margaret Drabble (1939-) English Novelist

I think it is interesting that most of us do not think this way. We want to “know” what is going to happen. It is uncomfortable when we do not have a clear direction or answer. I wonder if this is an American pattern? Or is it a human way? What do you think?

“The mediocre teacher….”

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.– William Arthur Ward

I think we have all had different kinds of teachers in our lives. I thought it would be interesting to share a positive learning experience. Please offer your stories in a comment.

Number thirty-four

Today the corresponding Tao Te Ching reading is #34:

The Great Tao flows everywhere, both to the left and to the right.
The ten thousand things depend upon it, it holds nothing back.
It fulfills its purpose silently and makes no claim.

It nourishes the ten thousand things,
And yet is not their lord.
It has no aim; it is very small.

The ten thousand things return to it,
Yet it is not their lord.
It is very great.

It does not show greatness,
And is therefore truly great.

“Live from your heart…”

Teabags are so informative. Yesterday my lemon ginger teabag tag said “Live from your heart, you will be most effective.”

This teabag fortune was right on, especially after taking a 2 weekend class with Pat Allen, a well known art therapist. Having a clear enough heart to “live from” is important. I spent much of my time in the workshop working with the intention to release things not serving me and to be clear to do my work – my work of being an artist and transformative art facilitator.

Pat’s process of intention and witness is truly powerful and transformative. Intention can be expressed in the forms of inquiry, engagement, or even celebration, and is always stated in the now for best results.

After the intention is set, art making such as drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture “serve as a technology of the sacred, available to anyone at any point in life, with any level of art experience”.

The witness process is about actualizing intention through writing about the art making experience and the learnings received from the art piece. How deep the participant wants to go with the exploration is up to them. It is optional whether one wants to share their witnessing and process with the group. An important aspect is that the workshop circle listens attentively in silence while the artist shares. The group’s presence is an acknowledgement of the work each artist is doing in the moment. Each and everyone’s process can have a message for individuals and the whole group.

I am excited about integrating this process in my transformative art workshops in April.

Here are some of the images I created during Pat’s workshop. I found it interesting that I drew some of the pieces since that is not my usual media. For these particular pieces drawing was what was called for to really get at what was coming up.






“Apathy can be overcome…”

Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can be aroused
by two things: first, an idea which takes the imagination by storm;
and second, a definite, intelligible plan for carrying that idea into
action.” — Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)

Sometimes I feel frozen. This advice is helpful for today! I am balancing a new way, which makes room for flow and scheduling.

“A childlike man is not a man…

“A childlike man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on
the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of
continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves
in the cocoon of middle aged habit and convention.”– Aldous Huxley

I had a reaction to this quote when I first read it. I wondered if it was because of the gender reference? A “childlike man” did not appeal to me. Why? Is it because then I would feel I would have to take on the adult role with this person? Perhaps that is just me feeling as some has to be the adult! But maybe that is not the case at all…

What if the quote read a “childlike woman”? Still it rubs me the wrong way…I do not really want to be childlike – at least not all the time. Oh, so the word which is bothering me is “childlike”! Yes that is it.

I embrace the person who continues to grow and develop AND is also an adult who is responsible and conscious. An adult does not have to be conservative and muffled. Let me be a HUMAN BEING who can mostly stand on my own two feet, add value to my community, embrace the wonder and the mystery, and continually evolve into my best self.

Perfect moontown afternoon

William got some fun in at Moontown field, after his dad took him for a haircut and to buy some groovy new boots. Makes me want to be young again, when nothing matters but to have a blast! You can hear the Ander and Bo having their afternoon pow wow in the background.

Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.” – Annie Dillard