Creativity in Captivity: Photos of Resilience Inside the Camps | Link TV
Creativity in Captivity: Photos of Resilience Inside the Camps
It was a time of fear, distrust and war.
On February 19, 1942, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in the name of national security. With a swipe of his pen, nearly 120,000 Japanese American lives were changed for generations to come. The order helped create military zones where people of Japanese ancestry — many of whom were American citizens — had their bank accounts frozen and were asked to leave their homes and businesses behind.
Given only a week to settle all their affairs (usually to avaricious business people looking to take advantage of their desperation), the Japanese in the United States were sent to relocation camps with just the belongings they could carry. This was a loss of monumental proportions in the face of hysteria and suspicion emanating from the rest of American society.
Living behind barbed wire fences without their possessions, the Japanese Americans still found a way to stay resilient, true grace under intense pressure. One of the ways they found release was through art, creating beauty in their harsh, deserted surroundings. “These are people who were immigrants. They got put in one-mile square area and they can’t get out,” said Delphine Hirasuna, author of “The Art of Gaman,” which beautifully illustrated the poignant work that came out of the camps. “Art became a way of release for them.”
The following photos are a glimpse of the dignity and strength of spirit that Japanese Americans demonstrated in those tumultuous times.
More Stories of the Japanese American Experience
Connect with Link TV
Top Image: Street scene with clouds at Manzanar Relocation Center, California | Ansel Adams via Densho.org
Here are a few programs and articles we recommend to help center your Thanksgiving celebration on honoring and amplifying Native stories, seeking truth about our history, and acknowledging Indigenous presence and wisdom.
"Cinemondo" kicks off a new season with 15 new titles, all critically-acclaimed award-winners from all over the globe — from Mexico, Colombia, Spain, France, China, Singapore and more.
Kai Anderson’s eye-catching, multi-colored, hand-drawn thematic maps have developed a cult following in conservation circles in the American West. He walks us through a map he created of Sen. Harry Reid's major environmental campaigns.
Based in the Peruvian Amazon, Chaikuni Institute blends an Indigenous agricultural practice known as chacras integrales with agroforestry, a permaculture method from Brazil.
- 1 of 120
- next ›
Robert Irwin, Larry Bell and Helen Pashgian explore perception, material and experience.
Drummer Mekala Session and other artists carry forward Los Angeles’ rich jazz legacy.
Artists created works to spark conversation about L.A. and sustainable futures.
The Watts Towers Arts Center was born out of the resilience of 1960s Black L.A.
From the typeface of “The Godfather” book cover to the Noguchi table, the influence of Japanese American artists and designers in postwar American art and design is unparalleled. Learn how the World War II incarceration affected their lives and creations.
- 1 of 12
- next ›