Despite the "positive spin" that the U.S. Gov't tried to give the camps. The reality was that the internees were prisoners that had committed no crime. Hisako Hibi's brushstrokes, gray color palettes, with isolated areas of saturation; and the often solitary figures speak volumes about the loneliness and frustration she must have felt.
I think Mrs. Hibi's painterly approach might be a good one for the in camp portions of "Topaz Diary." I particularly like her use of limited areas of saturation and color. Perhaps a painterly animation approach such as "The Man With Beautiful Eyes," or the work of Aleksandr Petrov would work well.
Born Hisako Shimizu in Fukui, Japan in 1907, Hibi came to the United States in 1920 with her parents. In 1925, when the rest of her family returned to Japan, she enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute, where she met another Issei artist, George Matsusaburo Hibi (1886-1947) whom she married in 1930. During the next decade the Hibis individually exhibited in venues throughout the Bay Area, including the important annual exhibitions of the San Francisco Art Association.
After the war the Hibis relocated to New York City. Tragically, George Hibi died shortly afterwards in 1947. In 1953, Hibi became a U.S. citizen. In 1954, she moved back to San Francisco where she remained until her death in 1991. Hibi exhibited widely in the Bay Area in the postwar years. In 1985, the San Francisco Arts Council selected her as Artist of the Year.
All of the paintings shown here were painted by Hisako Hibi between 1942 and 1945. To see more of her art at the Japanese American National Museum, click HERE.
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