Feb 12, 2015

Award-winning Japanese American Artist’s work to be displayed at Heart Mountain center

The art of Hatsuko Mary Higuchi will be on display from February 19 through May 31 at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center.

The exhibit, titled GAMAN: Surviving the Nikkei Gulag and Diaspora in World War II, will feature 22 paintings and prints depicting scenes from the 10 “camps” that were erected throughout the country to confine Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II.

The art of Hatsuko Mary Higuchi, including ‘Executive Order 9066, Series 34. Heart Mountain #2,’ a new acrylic on paper, will be on display through May 31 at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center.

Some works will be available for sale at the close of the exhibit.

“We are extremely pleased to have Ms. Higuchi’s important work on display in our Ford Foundation Special Exhibition Gallery,” said the center's executive director, Brian Liesinger. “We are especially excited to premier her three newest paintings which feature Heart Mountain.”

Higuchi was born in Los Angeles in 1939.

On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the mass removal and incarceration of “all persons of Japanese ancestry” on the West Coast. Higuchi’s family was imprisoned in the U.S. War Relocation Authority’s Colorado River camp at Poston, Arizona, between 1942 and 1945.

Mary Higuchi
Higuchi earned a teaching credential from UCLA and a MA from Pepperdine University. She taught as an elementary school master teacher from 1962 until retirement in 2003. Always interested in the arts, she took evening classes at UCLA and California State University Long Beach.

Since that time, Higuchi has won several awards and her work has been featured in various publications. She paints a variety of themes such as landscapes, figures, and abstracts. Higuchi uses watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, collage, and calligraphy.

Her EO 9066 paintings depict faces with anonymous features or none at all, symbolizing the mass anonymity to which over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were reduced – denied due process and judged guilty solely by reason of their race.

Higuchi’s haunting portraits are a warning that what happened to Japanese Americans is a precedent for similar actions against other groups, unless we remember the lessons of the past.

In addition to the exhibit, a reception and artist presentation will be held on May 21 at 6 p.m. The event, which will include light refreshments, will be free for students and Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation members and $5 for others.

Located between Cody and Powell on U.S. Highway 14-A, the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center’s winter hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays and by special appointment.

For more information, call (307)754-8000 or visit www.HeartMountain.org.

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