- Aull, Felice
- Date of entry: May-24-2003
- Last revised: May-17-2007
Japanese American artist, Henry Sugimoto, depicted life in the Arkansas internment camps into which he and his entire family (including wife and child) and many others of Japanese descent were forced, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Sugimoto's life and his painting were profoundly influenced by his incarceration experience during World War II. During and after this period his subject changed from landscapes to scenes of camp life and the Japanese emigration/immigration experience; these works often had social and political purpose.
This painting is bleak, almost colorless, with its shades of gray and beige; the sky is cloudy. In the foreground there appears to be a marshy area, with water, wooden boards strewn about, and tall grass at the water's edge. Barracks stretch behind the marsh, on either side of a narrow road, the repetitive monotony reinforced by telegraph poles that line one side of the road. There are no people or animals in sight and the only vegetation detectable, besides marsh grass, is the sketchy outline of tree tops in the distance.
Henry Sugimoto: Painting an American Experience. Kristine Kim, Lawrence M. Small, Karin Higa (Introduction), Emily Anderson (Translator), Madeleine Sugimoto (Epilogue). (Berkeley: Heyday Books, in conjunction with the Japanese American National Museum, 2001).