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Miné Okubo: Citizen 13660

Miné Okubo (1912–2001) was working in Oakland as an artist for the federal government when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941. Because of the resulting war hysteria, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. With this mandate, Okubo and thousands of other Japanese American citizens were put into internment camps and forced to abandon their belongings, homes, and businesses. Okubo’s identity was reduced simply to a number.

Curated by Senior Curator of Art Karen Tsujimoto, this small exhibition of Okubo’s poignant works on paper from the Museum’s collection charts Okubo’s odyssey. First bused to San Bruno’s Tanforan Racetrack, she lived in a horse stall for six months before being relocated to Topaz Relocation Center, Utah. There she endured another sixteen months of internment. In 1944, Okubo left the camp and headed for New York, reclaiming her life as an artist.