Friday, December 19, 2014

Recent Paintings

E.O. 9066, Series 31.  Woebegone.  I looked up "woebegone" in the dictionary and it means exhibiting woe, sorrow, or misery; also dismal, desolate.  This little girl, surrounded by luggage and her parents, looks lost, alone and uncertain about her future.  The little girl was painted from a photo of my mother when she was sent to Japan after she was orphaned at the age of three.

                                                      E.O. 9066, Series 31.  Woebegone. 
                                                        Watercolor on paper,  30"x22"

E.O. 9066, Series 28, 29, and 30 are titled  Unfinished Business.
E.O. 9066, Series 28.  Unfinished Business: Euphemisms, came from the realization that government officials used inaccurate terminology to describe the mass removal of Nikkei from the west coast during WWII.  The employment of euphemisms is described in Words Can Lie or Clarify by Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig.  Download her essay at

                                     E.O. 9066, Series 28. Unfinished Business:  Euphemisms.
Acrylic and collage on canvas, 36"x 24" 

E.O. 9066, Series 29.  Unfinished Business:  Hardship and Suffering, depicts the systematic destruction of the Nikkei family unit during the forced removal and incarceration.  Families lost most of their personal possessions as they were forced to remote areas, then released after the war to start a new life from scratch.  Parents lost control of the family.  The long hours of work to rebuild their lives after the war took a toll on male heads of households.  My father died at the age of 45, a few years after being released from the concentration camp.  Studies have shown that 40% of Nikkei males incarcerated during the war, died before they reached the age of 60.

                        E.O. 9066, Series 29.   Unfinished Business:  Hardship and Suffering.
                                                         Acrylic on canvas, 36" x 24" 

E.O. 9066, Series 30.  Unfinished Business:  The Questionnaire, depicts the consequences of how one answered the vaguely worded Questions 28 and 29 of a clumsily administered loyalty questionnaire.  Those who replied "," were denounced "disloyals" and "troublemakers" and sent to Tule Lake, the concentration camp in northern California designated as the War Relocation Authority's National Segregation Center.  Those sent to Tule Lake were stigmatized, but a growing movement seeks to reject the wartime "disloyal and troublemaker" labels as unfair, and redefines Tulean prisoners as outspoken patriots and heroes who had the courage to stand up for their rights as Americans.
                            E.O. 9066, Series 30.  Unfinished Business:  Questionnaire.
                                                        Acrylic on canvas, 36" x 24"

E.O. 9066, Series 27. Pilgrimages, shows participants in the 2014 annual pilgrimage to Manzanar concentration camp near Lone Pine, California, raising banners representing the 10 major concentration camps and other detention sites for Nikkei in World War II.  I was honored to represent Poston, where I was incarcerated with my family as a child.  Each banner carrier wrote a brief statement for the official program, and mine was: "I feel the weight and burden as I raise the banner of my family and others incarcerated at Poston."

                                                     E.O. 9066, Series 27.   Pilgrimages.
                                                        Watercolor on paper, 30" x 22"

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