Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066 February 18 - August 13, 2017 at Japanese American National Museum features IGMAG Adviser, Artist Mike Saijo

Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066  February 18 - August 13, 2017 at Japanese American National Museum features IGMAG Adviser, Artist Mike Saijo
One of three artworks by Mike Saijo
Japanese Consul, Mike Saijo, Ann Burroughs, JANM Interim President & CEO
Japanese Consul, Mike Saijo, JANM staff
Mike Saijo and Dr. Edward Crandall, Chair, Dept. of Medicine, USC Keck School of Medicine discussing steps to internment
February 18, 2017 - 12:00am - August 13, 2017 - 12:00am
Japanese American National Museum, 100N. Centeral Ave., Los Angeles

On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the forced removal and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of this historic miscarriage of justice, the Japanese American National Museum is presenting Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066, an educational and interactive exhibition designed to engage visitors in critical discussions of the Japanese American World War II experience and its continuing relevance today.   CLICK on the top photo to open the slide show and captions

The exhibition will include, through May 21 only, two pages of the original Executive Order 9066 and the original Presidential Proclamation 2537, a key precursor to EO 9066 that required aliens from the enemy countries of Germany, Italy, and Japan to register with the US Department of Justice. Both documents are on loan from the National Archives.

Shortly after Executive Order 9066 was issued, a series of Civilian Exclusion Orders were publicly posted all along the West Coast to notify persons of Japanese ancestry of their impending forced removal. “Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry” were the infamous first words seen at the tops of the posters. Historic examples of these and other original documents from the time period and documentary videos, along with contemporary artworks by Wendy Maruyama and Mike Saijo, will form the substance of the exhibition, which will ask viewers how they might respond if presented with similar “instructions” today.

In addition, a limited number of special performances exploring the effects of legalized discrimination against minorities in America, produced with the assistance of East West Players, will take place in the galleries during the run of the exhibition. Another special component will begin March 24, when the museum will present Moving Day, a public art piece in which reproductions of approximately 80 exclusion orders will be projected on the exterior of JANM’s historic building each evening from sundown to midnight. Projections will coincide with the date of the orders’ issuance.

The mission and values of the Japanese American National Museum are consistent with those of the USC Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery's mission to incubate social capital through preventing and healing physical, mental, spiritual and social dis-ease.  The IGM AG looks forward to developing projects with Interim Director and CEO, Ann Bourroughs and the JANM Board of Directors, staff and volunteers.  

Instructions to All Persons is a unique exhibition that aims to examine the social impact of language and give viewers a critical space in which to contemplate the lessons of the past and how they continue to be relevant to the struggle for social justice today. The exhibition will encourage viewers to make meaningful personal connections with the material, and to compare WWII experiences with current events.

Exhibition curator Clement Hanami stated: "It's really important for people to have spaces where they could decompress and contemplate the enormity of the experience." So the museum will display artworks by L.A.-based Mike Saijo and Wendy Maruyama of San Diego as visual pressure-release valves.

IGM Art Gallery Advisory Council Member and Artist, Mike Saijo created mixed-media drawings of Japanese Americans over pages from notable books, such as Jean-Paul Sartre's play "No Exit" and the New Testament. Saijo chose a quote from Senator Daniel Inouye to accompany his artwork entitled Soldier, seen above in the slide show.  "My father just looked straight ahead, and I looked straight ahead, and then he cleared his throat and said, 'America has been good to us.  It has given me two jobs.  It has given you and your sisters and brothers education.  We all love this country.  Whatever you do, do not dishonor your country.  Remember - never dishonor your family.  And if you must give your life, do so with honor.'  I knew exactly what he meant.  I said, "Yes, sir.  Good-bye."     -Senator Daniel Inouye

Mike Saijo has had 4 four-month exhibitions at the USC IGM Art Gallery in the six years he has served on the Gallery's Advisory Council as Chair of the Young Professionals Committee and as an Artist in Residence at the Gallery,  The Gallery's mission is to serve as an incubator for social capital.  Exhibitions, forums and events are designed to build community capacity locally and globally by providing opportunities for personal and professional development through open minded discussion with public, private, nonprofit, faith-based, academic and media leaders. Developing economic self-sufficiency and social justice are the result of our collaborative work to inform, engage and empower all individuals and organizations that share and leverage resources with the IGMAG.  It has been our great pleasure to work with Mike Saijo as he continues to refine and develop his artistic vision in projects such as this one with JANM and the projects he's spearheading at the Union Church in Little Tokyo.