Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ruth Asawa, RIP

The word "irony" is often misused, but I suppose this might truly qualify:
Ruth Aiko Asawa was born on Jan. 24, 1926, in Norwalk, a Southern California farming town. Her third-grade teacher encouraged her artwork, and in 1939, her drawing of the Statue of Liberty took first prize in a school competition to represent what it means to be an American.
In 1942 F.B.I. agents seized her father and sent him to an internment camp in New Mexico. Ms. Asawa did not see him for six years. Two months later, she, her mother and her five siblings were taken to the racetrack. After five months, they were taken to a camp in Arkansas.
Still, she claimed not to be at all resentful of her family's treatment. She went on to produce works of extraordinary beauty and immediacy that obliterated the distinction between craft and high modern art.

Photo source


  1. Absolute numbers can matter sometimes. Germans and Italians were targets for possible concentration and imprisonment in each world war, but there were too many immigrants, too many influential people, like the head of the Bank of Italy (Bank of America) that it couldn't be done. The racial aspect is very obvious too, it was easier to spot Japanese people.

  2. Not just easier to spot, but targets of very explicit racism in a way that no Europeans were. At a time of mass immigration from Italy and eastern Europe, Japanese immigration was severely restricted under the so-called Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907, and then absolutely prohibited under the 1924 Immigration Act.