Manzanar Kimono

Manzanar Kimono (Front) 2014</br>print transfer, acrylic, ashes on propylene fabric</br>11' x 8' Manzanar Kimono (Back) 2014</br>print transfer, acrylic, ashes on propylene fabric</br>11' x 8'

After visiting Manzanar National Park, formerly Manzanar War Relocation Camp, where many thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WW11, I felt compelled to make this monumental-scale kimono, dedicated to those who suffered relocation, loss and betrayal by the U.S. government.

The front, back and sleeves of this memorial garment are imprinted with enlargements that I photographed while visiting the internment camp.
The back of the kimono displays an image of the guard tower that still stands ominously on the grounds.  The front reveals pictures of rusting sleeping cots from the barracks interspersed with views of the Memorial monument.  Photographs of fragments of sculptural work by artist, Ruth Asawa, who was interned at Manzanar, appear on the sleeves.    

The fabric of the kimono is a thin polypropylene material commonly known as weed blocker.  The images were transferred to the garment through the use of photocopies coated with acrylic gel medium, then pressed against the fabric. Subsequently, the surface is highlighted with acrylic paint and charcoal then rubbed with earth and ashes to provide additional texture and depth.

The enormous scale of the kimono (11’ x 6’) symbolizes the phenomenal endurance, creativity and tenacity of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans who were interned during WW11.