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Sep 201125 Jan 201215

Illinois Holocaust Museum
9603 Woods Drive
Skokie, Illinois, 60077
United States

The Art of Gaman
 showcases arts and crafts made by Japanese Americans in U.S. internment camps during World War II. Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, all ethnic Japanese on the West Coast—more than two‐thirds of whom were American citizens—were ordered to leave their homes and move to ten inland internment camps for the duration of the war. While in these bleak camps, the internees used scraps and found materials to make furniture and other objects to beautify their surroundings. Arts and crafts became essential for simple creature comforts and emotional survival.

These objects—tools, teapots, furniture, toys and games, musical instruments, pendants and pins, purses and ornamental displays—are physical manifestations of the art of gaman, a Japanese word that means to bear the
seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience.

The exhibition features more than 120 objects, on loan from former internees or their families.

The Art of Gaman is organized by curator Delphine Hirasuna, with advisory support from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Painted wood carving
Artist: Unknown
Camp: Heart Mountain, Wyoming
Art of Gaman, by Delphine Hirasuna, copyright 2005, Ten Speed. Terry Heffernan photo.


intrepidmouse . Last modified Aug 30, 2011 3:49 a.m.


September 2011


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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation