Location: Carmel Valley, CA, United States
In my “Balancing Cultures” series, I explore the racism perpetrated on my ancestors, which resulted in their incarceration in the WWII concentration camps sanctioned by Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The recent discovery of family photographs taken in the camps compelled me to share the untold story of my family’s loss and suffering. These found photographs were explicit physical evidence of what previously were anecdotal camp references.
I came to understand the shadow aspect of my parents’ silence that shaped my artistic vision throughout my life. The collage process has been developing in my work for over 20 years. In this series, I added text-based elements to enhance the narrative nature of the project. Piecing together a historical puzzle of photographs, memories, and artifacts, I express the tragedy of my family’s camp experience. Relieving the burden of secrets supports healing. Left untold, my family’s stories would remain buried—stories of the humiliation forced upon them by the country they loved and fought for.
The arts have transcendent power to shape our feelings and influence our thoughts. Art is transformative. “Balancing Cultures” offers a personal testimony to truth. It serves as reminder that “never again” is now.