Resilience—A Sansei Sense of Legacy

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In 1942, in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law Executive Order 9066. The law ordered the forced imprisonment of all Japanese Americans living on the west coast of the United States, which has the second largest population of Japanese people living outside of Japan.

Following the US’s deployment of EO9066, similar laws were enacted throughout Latin America as well. In the years following the order’s retraction at the end of WWII, expatriate Japanese families and individuals were forced to come to terms with lost property, the shame and indignation of incarceration, and the task of re-integration into a society that had expelled them. After their release from the incarceration camps that dotted the American West and Midwest during the war, Japanese Americans used the phrase Shikata ga nai—it cannot be helped—and the word gaman—to persevere and stay silent—to speak to their resilience against the losses they incurred at the behest of Roosevelt’s order.

Told from the point of view of Sansei (third generation) Japanese Americans, Resilience—A Sansei Sense of Legacy is an exhibition of eight artists whose work reflects on the effect of EO9066 as it resonated from generation to generation. While several of the artists in Resilience employ traditional Japanese methods in the construction of their work—Lydia Nakashima Degarrod’s use of boro stitching on her works on paper; Judy Shintani’s use of kintsugi on the ceramic vessels which accompany her deconstructed kimonos—others use iconography relating to Japanese culture as a jumping-off point for personal explorations on the subject of the incarceration camps—Reiko Fuji’s photographs-as-kimono; Wendy Maruyama’s columns of replicated camp ID tags. Each in their own way, the artists in this exhibition express moments of deeply felt pain and reluctant acceptance, emotions which were often withheld by their elders.

Exhibition artists are: Kristine Aono, Reiki Fuji, Wendy Maruyama, Lydia Nakashima Degarrod, Tom Nakashima, Roger Shimomura, Judy Shintani, and Jerry Takigawa.

Co-curated by artist Jerry Takigawa and Gail Enns, Resilience was conceived to serve as a catalyst to cultivate social dialog and change around the issues of racism, hysteria and economic exploitation still alive in America today. The eight artists featured in Resilience were selected because of their personal connection to the subject matter, because their work is well respected within the Japanese American community as well as within the art world, and because of their activism on the subject of incarceration camps.

Takigawa and Enns explain, “The Sansei generation is perhaps the last generation of Japanese American artists that can be directly connected to the WWII American concentration camp experience—making their expression particularly significant in clarity of emotion. These artists lived through the years of “gaman” or silence about the camps. That silence made a deep impression on the artists selected for Resilience.”

About the Curators:
Gail Enns is the director of the nonprofit arts management organization Celadon Arts (founded 1998, Monterey, CA). Evidenced most recently by Resilience, Enn’s curatorial focus throughout her 30-year career has included the interaction between art, community, and some of the more challenging aspects of the human condition.

Jerry Takigawa is an independent photographer, designer, writer, and the co-founder of the annual PIE (Photography + Ideas + Experience) workshop series held at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA. A third generation Japanese American, Takigawa is a proponent of design as a tool for effecting radical shifts in human thought.

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Tour Schedule

Resilience—A Sansei Sense of Legacy will tour December 2021 through January 2027. The dates below reflect ten-week exhibition periods. Dates are subject to change; please contact MoreArt@maaa.org or (800) 473-3872 x208/209 for current availability.

  • December 1, 2021–February 8, 2022 Los Angeles Public Library
    Los Angeles, CA
    pending
  • March 9–May 28, 2022 Alice Sabatini Gallery
    Topeka, KS
    pending
  • June 27–September 3, 2022
    available
  • October 1–December 22, 2022
    available
  • January 10–July 7, 2023 The Washington State Historical Society
    pending
  • August 7–October 11, 2023
    available
  • November 10, 2023–January 14, 2024
    available
  • February 19–May 3, 2024
    available
  • May 31–August 9, 2024
    available
  • September 9–November 15, 2024 Refurbishment
    booked
  • December 13, 2024–February 22, 2025
    available
  • March 24–May 31, 2025
    available
  • June 30–September 8, 2025
    available
  • October 6–December 15, 2025
    available
  • January 12–April 6, 2026
    available
  • May 4–July 13, 2026
    available
  • August 10–October 19, 2026
    available
  • November 16, 2026–January 25, 2027
    available

Exhibition Details

twenty-six works of fine art by eight artists

  • Content

    Fee Includes:
    Press Kit
    Registrar’s Packet
    Programming Guide
    Gallery Guide
    Text Panels
    Narrative Labels
    Full Insurance
    Installation Instructions
    Custom-Designed and Built Crates

  • Curated By

    Gail Enns and Jerry Takigawa

  • Organized By

    ExhibitsUSA, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO

  • Out-of-Region Rental Fee

    $14,100

  • In-Region Rental Fee

    $8,460

  • Duration

    10 weeks

  • Shipping

    Fine Art

  • Running Feet

    200

  • Square Feet

    1200–1500

  • Security

    Moderate C

  • Number of Crates/Total Weight

    nine crates estimated

  • Insurance

    The exhibition is fully insured by ExhibitsUSA at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.