Gaman: Enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity
This project is the first of two themes this year explored by McLane’s ArtVenture Academy. The overarching theme for the year is Displacement: Leaving Home, Finding Home. For semester one, The 75th Anniversary of the Japanese American Incarceration, which has at its core leaving home, was the perfect project to represent Displacement.
Our Semester One project is called Gaman: Enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity. The anchor text was Only What You Can Carry, an anthology of various writings depicting this dark period in American history. As part of ArtVenture practice, several curriculum disciplines collaborated in this project; Visual Arts (three teachers), English Language Arts (three teachers), Video Production, and US History. Students participated in special after-school classes studying the history of Japanese immigration as background for the project. We also invited several survivors to come and speak to students as part of our speaker’s bureau. Students and staff spent two days visiting the Manzanar site on the east side of the Sierras. At Manzanar students studied the history and terrain, incorporating reflections and sketches in their sketchbooks. In the studio art students developed a 50-foot mural (blank door panels) incorporating five historical sections: In Community, Pearl Harbor, Evacuation/Relocation, Concentration Camp Life and lastly, Survivor Portraits. The panels were done in a variety of media, primarily with stencils and spray paint. Appropriate texts from the era were also designed into the panels to support the visuals. Student artists also produced art in their classroom/field sketchbooks, exploring the essential question, What is the meaning of home? Using a variety of media, art students responded visually to quotes, statements, and phrases exploring ideas of “home” in their sketchbooks.
The students and teachers of the ArtVenture Academy dedicate this body of work to the Japanese American Incarceration survivors and those who helped us connect with the Japanese American community to help share their stories and bring this project to life.
Marc Patterson, Visual Arts Teacher
Jessica Ketchum, Visual Arts Teacher
Rommel Contreras, Visual Arts Teacher
Manuel Bonilla, Video Production Teacher
Donny Garcia, ELA Teacher
Marina Santos, ELA Teacher
Augustine Hernandez, ELA Teacher
Dave Shumaker, Social Science Teacher
During semester 1 of 2017, three advanced art classes worked on a visual timeline of 47 large blank door panels. The timeline was broken into five categories of the Japanese American story; In Community, Attack on Pearl Harbor, Evacuation/Relocation, Concentration Camp Life, and Survivor Portraits. Most of the panels incorporated stencils and spray paint. Students learned how to plan (design and draw the stencils), cut, register, and spray the stencils. Some panels incorporated brush work using acrylic paints. Students incorporated important historical texts along with images, and learned how to design and hand letter large areas of written text. Other art classes designed and painted a large canvas mural to represent the Sierra mountain range which provided an imposing backdrop to the Manzanar concentration camp in Eastern California. Students designed and crafted several thousand small, white paper houses that were placed on the perimeter of the Manzanar camp. Eight guard towers were constructed and tied together with a string replicating barbed wire. During the exhibit, wind was brought into the gallery space to disperse the paper houses inside the perimeter of the camp to symbolize displacement of Japanese Americans. Our video production component was comprised of a ten minute behind-the-scenes video showing various stages and parts of the project. Video production students also produced a documentary on the life and experience of Robert Yano, a Japanese American survivor of the camps and WW2 veteran. Beginning art classes took text from our period texts and created shadow boxes incorporation text and images. Lastly, our ELA students performed spoken word selections.
Check Out the Process
Media to come soon!