Fundraising Auction of Usagi Yojimbo Artwork

Stan & Sharon Sakai at the 2011 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner
Stan & Sharon Sakai at the 2011 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner

Just a heads up about this most worthy cause. The art in this auction is also being published as a book which we will sell in the Museum Store later this year.

Proceeds from the auction and book sales will help to offset the Sakai family’s ongoing medical expenses. There is some GREAT art to be had created by a stellar list of artists. The auction starts on March 6!

Click here for details >>

Stan and Sharon have been wonderful supporters and partners of JANM. We had an exhibition of his work in 2011 (Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo), he presented a session at our 2013 National Conference in Seattle, and we sell many Usagi Yojimbo products in our Museum Store, including JANM exclusive items.

Here is a photo of Stan and Sharon in 2011 at our Gala Dinner that year—happier times!

 

Estelle Ishigo Drawing from JANM Collection Featured in National Constitution Center Exhibition

Ishigo-500px
Estelle Ishigo’s drawing All In One Room, as it was prepared by Collections Staff for travel to the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is currently featuring the drawing All In One Room by Estelle Ishigo in their permanent exhibition The Story of We, the People.  The drawing will be on display through November of 2014.

Estelle Peck Ishigo (1899-1990) is most well known as an artist who chronicled the experience at the Heart Mountain concentration camp.

Estelle Peck was born in Oakland in 1899 to parents of English, Dutch, French ancestry.  Her family moved to Los Angeles and Estelle attended the Otis Art Institute, where she met Arthur Ishigo (1902-1957), a San Francisco-born Nisei who was working as a chauffeur for California Lieutenant Governor Robert Kenny.  As anti-miscegenation laws at the time prohibited interracial couples from getting married, Peck and Ishigo took a trip across the border to Tijuana to be wed in 1928. Hoping for a career as an actor, Arthur worked as a janitor at Paramount Studios while Estelle worked as an art teacher.  Shunned by her family, the couple lived among the Japanese American community.

Estelle Ishigo (Gift of Mary Ruth Blackburn, Japanese American National Museum [2000.103.12])
Gift of Mary Ruth Blackburn, Japanese American National Museum [2000.103.12].
With the outbreak of World War II and the removal of all West Coast Japanese Americans to inland concentration camps, the couple faced a dilemma. As a Nisei, Arthur was required to be removed while his wife was not. Though he wanted her to stay behind, she accompanied her husband, first to the Pomona Assembly Center in California, and then to Heart Mountain, Wyoming.

Throughout the war years, Estelle drew, sketched, and painted what she saw, providing a valuable document of life in the American concentration camps. “Strange as it may sound, in this desolate, lonely place I felt accepted for the first time in my life,” she later wrote of her time at Heart Mountain. She and her husband remained at Heart Mountain in order to record the last days of the camp until it was officially closed. The Ishigos were given $25 and put on a train to the West Coast. “I felt as if I were part of a defeated Indian tribe,” she remembered later.

In 1990, filmmaker Steven Okazaki made a documentary of Estelle Ishigo’s life titled Days of Waiting. Estelle passed away before seeing the film, which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Estelle Ishigo’s story and drawings comprise an important aspect of the permanent collection at the National Museum. The Estelle Ishigo Collection can be seen on the Museum’s website at:  janm.org/collections/estelle-ishigo-collection

Learn more about Estelle Ishigo on our Discover Nikkei website >>

Submitted by Margaret Zachow Wetherbee, Collections Manager

Shizu Saldamando Artist Talk & Workshop on August 24

CARM’S CREW (2009) Shizu Saldamando Gold leaf and oil on wood. Jo Willems and Karen O’Brien. Photograph by Michael Underwood. © Shizu Saldamando
CARM’S CREW (2009) by Shizu Saldamando
Gold leaf and oil on wood. Jo Willems and Karen O’Brien. Photograph by Michael Underwood. © Shizu Saldamando

 

Interested in an afternoon spent learning with a fantastic Los Angeles contemporary artist? Join us on Saturday, August 24, at 2:00pm (free with Museum admission) to see the world of Shizu Saldamando through her own eyes with an artist talk and portrait workshop. Shizu is known for her unique portraits that draw inspiration from her Asian and Mexican heritage.

During the talk, Shizu will discuss her series Stay Gold, currently hanging as part of the Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter exhibition on view at JANM through September 22, 2013. Her drawings and paintings begin as snapshots taken with a cheap point-and-shoot and are then stripped of context and redrawn. Through portraits of her often-unsuspecting friends—taken at parties and informal gatherings—Shizu gives the viewer an insider’s glimpse into a youthful world of freedom and shifting, malleable identity.

In addition to her contribution to Portraiture Now, Shizu has recently worked on Art Intersections: Asian-Latino Pop-Up Museum, hosted by the Smithsonian in downtown Silver Springs, MD. As a curator for the second day of the pop-up—working alongside Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot (another familiar face at JANM)—Shizu projected artwork representing the Asian-Latino connection onto public surfaces.

Learn more about Shizu in this KCET article and video.

Hong Zhang Gallery Talk

TWIN SPIRITS #1 (2002) Zhang Chun Hong Charcoal on paper. Diptych. Collection of the artist. © Hong Chun Zhang

Wondering about the meaning behind the scrolls of hair in Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter? Interested in learning more about art?

Chinese-born artist Hong Zhang will be leading a gallery talk about her work in Portraiture Now at 1pm on Sunday, July 28. Her soft, yet subtly detailed charcoal works represent themes such as familial bonds and life’s twists and turns.

Zhang received her BFA in Chinese painting from the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1994, before coming to America in 1996. She has an MFA from the University of California, Davis, and now resides in Lawrence, Kansas.

Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter displays the diversity of contemporary Asian American identity through the groundbreaking work of seven visual artists—CYJO, Zhang Chun Hong, Hye Yeon Nam, Shizu Saldamando, Roger Shimomura, Satomi Shirai, and Tam Tran. The exhibition will close September 22, 2013.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear an acclaimed artist discuss her work! The talk is free with Museum admission.

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters

Supernatural opens February 9th!

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters opens this Saturday!

The exhibition features the work of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters—artists who have explored some of these otherworldly concepts, illustrating how traditional ideas have evolved and been adapted over time.

The exhibition will be up from February 9 – March 17, 2013. That’s just 5 weeks to come check it out before it closes!

For more details, visit: janm.org/supernatural

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We are celebrating the opening with two FREE events!

TARGET FREE FAMILY SATURDAY
Art from the Heart
11AM – 4PM
FREE ALL DAY!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day and the opening of Supernatural exhibition! Show your love by making art for yourself and others. Participate in art workshops with Timothy Watters and Edwin Ushiro!

Check janm.org/target for schedule >> 

 

Supernatural Opening Party
6:30PM – 9PM
FREE!
Get mystical with JANM! Celebrate the opening of Supernatural with the artists and some spooky fun—wandering ghosts, a medium, and special treats!

* * * * *

Learn more about the exhibition and the artists on our Discover Nikkei website. We’ll be adding an interview with Timothy Watters next week:

* * * * *

Here are a few photos from the exhibition installation happening this week. Check our Facebook page for more photos: Supernatural photo album

 

Artist Edwin Ushiro prepares sketchbooks to display in the exhibition
Edwin Ushiro's sketchbooks
Paintings by Timothy Teruo Watters waiting to be hung
New Year's mochi by Hisako Hibi

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Healthy & Happy New Year from the Japanese American National Museum!

New Year's mochi by Hisako Hibi
"New Year's mochi" by Hisako Hibi. Hisako Hibi Collection (99.63.2)

 

This image is from JANM’s permanent collection. It’s a painting by artist Hisako Hibi and features a still-life of kagami mochi / okasane.

On the back is this inscription:

Hisako Hibi. Jan 1943 at Topaz. Japanese without mochi (pounded sweet rice) is no New Year! It was very sad oshogatsu (New Year). So, I painted okazari mochi in the internment camp.

Our cultural traditions bring our families & communities together, and has the power to give us comfort.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from everyone at JANM!

Gift of Mine Okubo Estate (2007.62.155)

 

This image from the Mine Okubo Collection in our archives shows a family gathered around a cast iron stove to celebrate their first Christmas in camp. It is one of the drawings by artist Mine Okubo used for her book Citizen 13660 which shares life inside the Tanforan Assembly Center and Topaz concentration camp during World War II.

It reminds us that in tough times, it’s still important to come together and celebrate with family & friends. Kodomo no tame ni. For the sake of our children, we must continue on.

Wishing you & your loved ones a Happy & Healthy Holidays!

Stan Sakai, JA Santa, & GRB3 artists workshop this Saturday!

This Saturday will be another busy day at JANM! We’ll have 3 great reasons to visit us with your friends & family.

  • 11am – 2pm: Take a Picture with Japanese American Santa
    Japanese American Santa is coming to town! Take home a special holiday photo.
Usagi Yojimbo books available at the Museum Store!
  • 12pm – 2pm: Stan Sakai Book Signing
    Stan Sakai returns to JANM! Signed Usagi Yojimbo books make great holiday gifts. The Museum Store will have copies of his two latest books for sale—Usagi Yojimbo #26: Traitors of the Earth & 47 Ronin (signing books only)
  • 2pm – 4pm: Giant Robot Artists’ Entourage Workshop with Albert Reyes & Saelee Oh
    Come make art with Albert Reyes and Saelee Oh from Giant Robot Biennale 3 in this hands-on workshop. Immerse yourself in a variety of techniques and styles.

Here’s a description of what Saelee Oh has planned:

Open Love Letter to the Universe: We will be creating lots of artwork together! You can make portraits of your spirit animals, make artwork as an amulet for healing and protection for yourself and to give out to others and to illustrate our wishes for our world to be a better place.

Saelee Oh installation in "Giant Robot Biennale 3"

 

All three events are free with Museum admission (if you’re a member, that means it’s all free!). While you’re here, be sure to check out the Giant Robot Biennale 3 exhibition (closes January 20, 2013).

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, find meaningful & fun cultural gifts at our award-winning Museum Store. We have many more items—including one-of-a-kind ceramics, jewelry, and art pieces—than what is available online at janmstore.com.

Introducing the Miné Okubo Collection

Miné Okubo, Untitled, 1942-1944, Gift of Miné Okubo Estate (2007.62.82)

 

Artist.  Writer.  Activist.

Miné Okubo (1912-2001) was all those things and more.  We also venture to call her a documentarian and anthropologist for the way she captured life while incarcerated in the Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, CA and Topaz, UT camp during World War II.  Along with over 120,000 other Japanese and Japanese Americans, Okubo was confined behind barbed wire simply because of the way she looked.  She took the opportunity to observe and record her experiences as shared in her seminal book Citizen 13660:  “…I had the opportunity to study the human race from the cradle to the grave, and to see what happens to people when reduced to one status and condition.”

Due to a generous grant awarded to the National Museum by the National Endowment for the Humanities, we spent two years conserving, mounting, scanning and cataloging all of Okubo’s original drawings from Citizen 13660 in order to share her insight and talents with a larger audience.

You can browse this amazing collection on our Museum Collections webpage!:  http://www.janm.org/collections/mine-okubo-collection/

Oh!  And don’t forget her brother Benji Okubo (a pretty amazing artist in his own right):  http://www.janm.org/collections/benji-okubo-collection/

 

Giant Robot Biennale 3 — Opening Party on Sept 22nd

 Giant Robot is returning to JANM!

GRB3 Opening Party
Saturday, September 22
6PM – 10PM
FREE!

Giant Robot Biennale 3 opens with a party on Saturday, September 22.

Join us as we celebrate the exhibition opening with curator Eric Nakamura, GRB3 artists, and a performance by Money Mark!

The third show in conjunction with Eric Nakamura, owner of Asian American pop culture juggernaut Giant Robot. Giant Robot Biennale 3 will feature a gallery of eight emerging artists along with a customized vinyl figure collection.

Following two previous successful exhibitions at the National Museum, the Biennale continues to push the envelope with a creative, fresh, and uniquely interactive experience. This year’s exhibition highlights the works of Rob Sato, Deth P. Sun, Ako Castuera, Eishi Takaoka, Saelee Oh, Sean Chao, Albert Reyes, and Zach Gage.

Using figures designed by Uglydoll creator David Horvath, Nakamura curated Project Remix, a custom vinyl show with over 80 artists from seven countries—including the rare combination of both established customizers and fine artists.

Special additions to the exhibition include an original piece from Japanese painter Masakatsu Sashie as well as arcade machines running Jeni Yang and Beau Blyth’s new indie video game, Catburger.

Check janm.org/grb3 for more info about the exhibition and related programs.