New Studio Practice faculty member Kevin Miyazaki has traveled across the nation with the help of the Mary L. Nohl Fund grants, working to complete his project, ‘Camp Home,’ which explores his family’s history as Japanese Americans, and is on view in Out of the Suitcase VI.
“Both of my parents have a bit of a different history. My mom grew up in Hawaii, and was a child when Pearl Harbor was attacked, but my dad grew up on the West Coast, in Tacoma, Washington. That meant that his family was sent to Japanese internment camps in California and Wyoming when he was a teenager,” said Miyazaki.
Miyazaki wanted to explore the places his father lived during this time. “The incarcerated families lived in simple wood barracks, with very little comfort,” and these barracks have been repurposed and are still in use today.
After World War II, the buildings where Miyazaki’s father lived were reused by homesteaders who were settling the area as farmers, many of whom were WWII veterans. These barracks helped them to build their new lives.
“For Camp Home, I document the reuse of these buildings, and I’m interested in the compelling path that these structures have taken. When I’m standing in a farmer’s kitchen, the building we’re in technically could have been one that my father lived in,” said Miyazaki.
Miyazaki was able to spend time with the families who now call these former barracks home, getting to discuss their unique family histories.
His work from the series has been exhibited in Seattle, San Francisco, Grand Rapids, Atlantic City, Madison and Milwaukee. With the help of the Nohl Suitcase Export Fund grant, which provides funds for the transportation of artwork or the artist, in connection with an exhibition outside the region, Miyazaki was able to travel to Atlantic City where his work was being exhibited at Stockton College.
This trip was important, as New Jersey has a strong connection to the Japanese Internment story. “A large packing company in Seabrook, NJ, sponsored many young Japanese Americans so they could leave the camps and come east for jobs,” and Miyazaki was able to meet some of these people and hear their stories, providing further insight into the topics he had been exploring.
Grants from the Mary L. Nohl Fund have been providing support to local artists and art education since 2001. For more information, click here.
Work from Camp Home is currently on view in the Out of the Suitcase VI exhibition in the Frederick Layton Gallery.
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