In response to Mr. Kawashima’s letter in the July 24 AD: I would like to offer additional background information on the creation of the new mural adjacent to the Marysville Buddhist Church.
The mural is part of a much larger project funded by the California State Library as part of its civil liberties program to document Japanese American experiences around the state during WWII. The church board of directors and the Japanese American Citizen League have been partners with Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture from the beginning and guided the mural design through multiple revisions. The intent of the mural was not simply to be a backdrop for the Obon Festival, but rather a celebration of the tenacity of the Japanese spirit even under great adversity. While we did not want to whitewash any aspect of Japanese life before or during WWII, we tried to add a narrative element and broad overview with the mural which flows from right to left.
During our Day of Remembrance events last February, we took an unvarnished look at the realities of Japanese American life in our region with our “Faces of Internment” exhibit. This collection of photographs by a Marysville photographer showed 100 residents just before they were sent to the concentration camp at Tule Lake. Enlarged to 20”x30” and mounted on all three gallery walls, the impact was quite profound as viewers looked into the faces of people heading off to the great unknown.
Part three of the grant is the creation of a memorial site at the location of the Arboga Assembly Center. It warehoused 2,500 Japanese Americans for several months as the permanent camps were being built. The site will include interactive murals, sculpture, and areas for reflection to share as accurately as possible, this important but troubling part of our local history.
Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture