Drawing at the museum, Part 2

Yesterday I visited the Bellevue Arts Museum to see The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from Japanese American Internment Camps. I wrote about Gaman last year -- it was an early example of upcycling

Internees were forced to leave their homes with very few possessions, so they made many of their own household items -- spoons, knives, baskets. I sketched a wooden chair made by Mits Kaida at Tule Lake, a camp in Northern California.
Sketch of exhibit at Bellevue Arts Museum
 I was taken with the small chests people made to hold their few valuables, like this one. It's a sewing box made by Yoshitisuchi Ikemoto in a camp in Arkansas.
Sketch of exhibit at Bellevue Arts Museum
Many of the people forced into the camps were born in America, and not necessarily familiar with Japanese language or culture. But some of the artwork on display celebrates this tradition, like this kendo gi, made for a child by an unknown artist at Manzanar.
Sketch of exhibit at Bellevue Arts Museum
I was glad I took the time to sketch. As I focused on the details, I felt closer to the creator of each piece. So much more satisfying than taking a photo.


  1. That must have been a very moving exhibit. I read a novel about the internment camps this past year - I love novels with history to them, you might enjoy it. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.


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