In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in the United States, including men, women, children, the elderly and the infirm, for the duration of World War II.
The evacuation affected the entire Japanese American population on the U.S. West Coast. Allowed only what they could carry, they were given just a few days to settle their affairs and report to assembly centers. Businesses were lost, personal property was stolen or vandalized and lives were shattered. Imprisoned in remote camps surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by soldiers with machine guns, the internees sought solace in art.
The Art of Gaman showcases more than 120 artifacts made by Japanese Americans while incarcerated in camps during World War II. It explores the creativity and ingenuity of these internees, as well as the Japanese concept of gaman, "to endure the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity."
Struggling to form communities within the camps, the internees fashioned furniture from scrap lumber, wove baskets from unraveled twine and made corsages from shells dug up from an ancient seabed. Works on display range from tools, decorative objects, woodcarvings, paintings, furniture, toys and more and are presented with historical context through photographs, documents and films. Most of the objects on view are on loan from former internees or their families.
On view through Sept. 20, 2015.