Japanese exhibit

Posted on May 26, 2018 in Art, Inspiration, Paintings

Nanaimo Museum‘s recently opened exhibit, “A Call for Justice: Fighting for Japanese Redress”, added a few, new to me, insights regarding the Japanese Canadian internment following the attack on Pearl Harbour. I had not realized, for example, that long after the rest of Canada had admitted the injustice done to these citizens, British Columbia continued with their forced expatriation to Japan. It seems their entrepreneurial success was resented. I now understand how the father of a friend, who had resettled in Toronto after being dispossessed of his Vancouver business, refused to ever again venture west of the Rockies. Haruko Okano‘s newspaper-covered mask, “Canada’s Shame”, with its metal tears and barb wire strapping, creates a powerful image of the media lens through which these citizens were viewed, and the mental and physical pain inflicted on a silenced people. Also on display was Takeo Tanabe‘s ethereal westcoast print, used to fund the marches that eventually led to Brian Mulroney’s national apology in 1988 to “the enemy that never was”.

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