Japanese-American Incarceration: Experiencing History Through Art – Online

03/21/2023 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Online via Zoom
WWU Academy for Lifelong Learning

We explore an artist’s vision of the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII, including pre-Pearl Harbor, Executive Order 9066 and incarceration camps. We discuss the camp closures and what followed: the civil liberty movement, redress and reparations. We also study how this history relates to current times.

Instead of examining this history as abstract ideas and images, we see how art can make this historical period visceral and moving. The Japanese American incarceration inspired the artist’s creation of the installation titled Dream Refuge for Children Imprisoned. The course demonstrates how art can powerfully express personal stories, history and intergenerational trauma.

The installation includes drawings of life-size sleeping children on cots that represent Japanese American children who were incarcerated for years in American concentration camps during WWII (her own father being one of them). Shintani conducted interviews and collected writings of those incarcerated during their childhood. Viewers can hear their voices expressing portions of their stories.

The installation is included in the Japanese American Resisters and Resilience During World War II Exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle from Oct. 14, 2022 – Sept. 18, 2023.

This course is offered in coordination with an ALL Excursion to the exhibit in Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum on March 31.

Instructor: Judy Shintani

Japanese American artist Na Omi Judy Shintani’s artistic career focuses on community engagement, art concerning culture, art as craft, the Japanese American Incarceration and women’s issues. Shintani has exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. She earned her Master’s in Arts and Consciousness, Transformative Art from JFK University, Berkeley, and her Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from San Jose State University.

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