Unveiling a Displaced Identity
INTERNMENT is a solo exhibition of San Francisco-based artist Scott Tsuchitani’s work that mixes historiography with a contemporary perspective on Japanese Americans’ displacement during World War II. Satirical etchings and digital prints bring to light the conflicting narratives of American subjectivity, while his film, Meeting at Tule Lake (1994), questions ideas of allegiance in a country that is haunted by legacies of racial prejudice.
Shortly after Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, American citizens of Japanese ancestry were uprooted and forced into camps located in seven areas across the country. In 1943, the U.S. government began to segregate the prisoners based on their “loyalty.” Those deemed “disloyal” were relocated to Tule Lake in northern California, which is where Tsuchitani’s parents first met.
INTERNMENT explores themes of Japanese American identity, displacement of culture, veiled stereotypes, and the treatment of subcultures in the United States in order to awaken memories of an uncomfortable past. By revisiting an American tragedy, Tsuchitani’s satirical images and documentary footage remind us of the importance in understanding not only how history informs dominant narratives, but also how it resonates through current times.