Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066

Organized by The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, Massachusetts.  Funded in part by the Windgate Charitable Foundation, the Henry and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

October 9, 2015 – January 31, 2016

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the incarceration of tens of thousands of American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry. Wendy Maruyama, a third generation Japanese American and highly regarded artist and furniture maker based in San Diego, has created a compelling body of work examining this period in American history.

The exhibition includes three integrated parts: Executive Order 9066, The Tag Project, and a selection of historical artifacts. Executive Order 9066 involves a series of wall-mounted cabinets and sculptures referencing themes relating to the incarceration center experience. Maruyama’s pieces integrate photo transfers based on the documentary photographs of Dorothea Lange and Toyo Miyatake in conjunction with materials such as barbed wire, tarpaper and domestic objects. The Tag Project consists of ten groupings of 120,000 recreated, paper identification tags suspended from the ceiling. The suspended tags are a metaphor for the many lives put on hold, and evoke a powerful sense of the humiliation endured by the incarcerees and the sheer numbers of those displaced. Maruyama’s inclusion of actual objects owned or made by the incarcerees brings an intensely personal awareness to the impact of Executive Order 9066. Included objects range from actual suitcases used by families during their forced removal to an array of items made by incarcerees from materials made available to them in the incarceration centers.

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