Eighty years ago, the Tanforan Racetrack in San Bruno was converted into a temporary “Assembly Center” that eventually held some 8,000 Japanese Americans being rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II.
Today, on the same grounds, you can visit an art exhibit devoted to that dark chapter of U.S. history.
“Sansei Granddaughters’ Journey, From Remembrance to Resistance,” features the works of five third-generation Japanese American artists dedicated to preserving the legacy of Executive Order 9066, under which President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the incarceration of some 120,000 Japanese Americans, most of whom were U.S. citizens.
The exhibit, consisting of videos, sculptures and installations, prints, paintings and mixed-media pieces, features the works of Arai DeBoer, Ellen Bepp, Reiko Fujii, Kathy Fujii-Oka, and Na Omi Judy Shintani. It’s on display at AZ Gallery in The Shops at Tanforan, the site of the original race track.
“The injustice of our government incarcerating innocent men, women, and children based on greed, fear, and racial prejudice, resulting in the loss of life, homes, businesses, trust, and self-esteem, is deplorable,” said Reiko Fujii, a Bay Area glass works and installations artist who is one of the participants in the exhibit. “I am adamant about chronicling their stories so that they are a recorded part of American history and that these people’s experiences are not forgotten.”
Artist-led tours of the exhibit are available noon-12:30 p.m. Aug. 13, 3:30-4 p.m. Aug. 21 and 1-1:30 p.m. Sept. 3.
On Aug. 14, the gallery will host a screening of a related 27-minute film, “Sansei Granddaughters’ Journey,” which documents the five artists’ trip in 2018 to the Manzanar internment camp near Los Angeles, where some 10,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned. A discussion follows the film screening.
Details: Exhibit runs through Sept. 3; AZ Gallery is at 1150 El Camino Real, Suite 254, San Bruno; hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays; admission is free; for information visit www.sanseigranddaughters.com, or contact 650-483-6066 or [email protected]
Other related events:
Topaz Stories: Preserving stories of Japanese American Incarceration, led by Ruth Sasaki; 1-2 p.m. Aug. 13.
Remnants of Tanforan Incarceration: Musical taiko performance by Naoko Amemiya and Lori Honjiyo and slideshow on Tanforan artifacts by Nancy Ukai; 1-2:30 p.m. Aug. 20.
Flowering Cherry Blossom Workshop: 12 attendees will create textile cherry blossom flowers using personal photos of their loved ones; 1-3 p.m. Aug. 21.
Tsuru For Solidarity Art and Social Justice Talk: Includes screening of two films, “Flying Cranes” and “Tsuru History”; 1-2:30 p.m. Aug. 28.