The workshop and performance are part of the artists-in-residency project inspired by Wendy Maruyama: E.O. 9066, an exhibition running through May 27 that explores the impact President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 had on the artist’s family and Japanese Americans. The artwork incorporates objects and imagery that depict the realities of the imprisonment of approximately 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry and resident aliens from Japan during WWII. Information and artifacts about Harada House and Mine Okubo are also included in this exhibition. The artists-in-residency project, made possible with support from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program at the California State Library, kicked off on Saturday, February 17, during RAM’s Day of Remembrance Free Weekend, with Tales of Resilience.Visitors to the museum, including two survivors from the camps, listened to one-half of our artists-in-residency duo, Brenda Wong Aoki, discuss and perform true stories from the incarceration.
Brenda shared stories and photos of her and her husband’s families in the camps, ending with a moving performance of “The Train Ride”, a heartbreaking true story that was told to Brenda by a nurse who was forced to leave her home and all she and her husband owned to be incarcerated in camps during WWII. A baby who should have been in the hospital was placed on board a train to the camps with her mother. The nurse, aboard the same train, did all she could to help the mother and baby, but the end-result was out of her hands.