SAN FRANCISCO, CA.-
Joyful picnics, seaside fun, prosperous storefronts, tidy homes: the typical California dream. This dream was uprooted in 1942 by the signing of Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the incarceration of 120,000 American Japanese during WWII.
From Feb. 19 Feb. 26, 2017, the Asian Art Museum
is screening When Rabbit Left the Moon , a video elegy by award-winning filmmaker Emiko Omori to commemorate the 75th anniversary of this dark chapter in American history a chapter with lessons that continue to resonate today.
Omori experienced the devastating effects of forced relocation herself when she was transported to the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona as a child. Her new work draws in part on the archival imagery of the Japanese American concentration camps first used in her award-winning 1999 documentary Rabbit in the Moon . For this years important milestone, Omori has crafted an original visual poem that will play during the weeklong anniversary as a short film in a special museum gallery, complete with additional information about Executive Order 9066.
Omori describes When Rabbit Left the Moon as an homage to the generation of my parents, the Issei [first generation], to the vibrant prewar American Japanese community that never recovered from that violation, to the hopes and dreams that were torn away, and to the legacy of suffering that haunts us. Sorting this out has taken me a long time almost 75 years.
Panel Program Finds Connections with Today
Artist Emiko Omori will also appear for a dedicated panel discussion with others who were interned on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 23:30 PM at the museum. Participants include Omori's sister Chizu Omori, psychiatrist Satsuki Ina and artist Masako Takahashi. Moderated by Rob Mintz, Asian Art Museum deputy director for arts and programs, the panel is an opportunity for participants to share thoughts on what their experiences, and the prejudices they faced, offer all Americans today.
Takahashis work, Black Enso (2014), is also on display nearby in the museums second floor Japanese tea room. One of the most common Zen Buddhist calligraphic images, an enso is a full circle completed in a single stroke. Takahashis haunting rendition, printed from a high-resolution scan of her own hair, encompasses this shapes many meanings: the duality of fullness and emptiness; a vastness with nothing in excess.