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Roger Shimomura: Minidoka on My Mind

Roger Shimomura: Minidoka on My Mind

Roger Shimomura’s series of paintings draws upon on his and his family’s experiences at Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho, one of the internment camps where Japanese American citizens were detained by the U.S. government during World War II. Through the bright colors and graphic conventions of Japanese ukiyo-e prints and Pop art, Shimomura stingingly exposes the dismal living conditions and humiliation of incarceration and its lingering effects, while at the same time honoring the resilience of this community in the face of injustice.

Shimomura’s Minidoka series is part of a larger body of work that engages the sociopolitical issues of Asian American experience, and serves as a metaphor for current times, calling attention to the ways that perceptions of crisis and impending threats continue to test America’s commitment to its ideals. 

The presentation of Shimomura’s work coincides with the campus and community reading of Julia Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine (2002).

This exhibition was curated by Ellen Avril, chief curator and curator of Asian art at the Johnson Museum. The Museum is grateful to Cornell’s 2013 New Student Reading Project for its support of this exhibition and the artist’s visit to campus.

Watch Johnson Museum curators and educators explore Shimomura's work and more on view at the Museum in conjunction with the 2013 Reading Project.