Witness to Wartime: Takuichi Fujii is curated by Barbara Johns, PhD, and the traveling exhibition is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.
This traveling exhibition focuses on Takuichi Fujii (1891–1964), a modernist painter who left a remarkably comprehensive visual record of his experience during World War II as a Japanese American detainee. Curated by Dr. Barbara Johns, and traveling through Curatorial Assistance, this exhibition is based on her research that resulted in the publication The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii Artist and Wartime Witness (2017). Fujii was fifty years old and lived in Seattle when war broke out between the United States and Japan. In a climate of increasing fear and racist propaganda, he became one of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast forced to leave their homes and be relocated to geographically isolated incarceration camps.
He and his family were sent first to the Puyallup, Washington temporary detention camp and then to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Jerome County in southern Idaho. Fujii began an illustrated diary that spans the years from his forced removal in May 1942 to the closing of Minidoka in October 1945. In nearly 250 ink drawings Fujii depicts detailed images of the incarceration camps, and the inmates’ daily routines and pastimes. He also produced over 130 watercolors that reiterate and expand upon the diary, and several oil paintings and sculptures. After the war, Fujii moved to Chicago, which had become home to a large Japanese-American community under the government's resettlement program, where he continued to paint.
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula (HMFM), in recognition of HMFM as an Alien Detention Center during World War II.