A color sumi-e painting of barracks and camp landscape, likely done by one of Chiura Obata’s students at a Japanese American prison camp during World War II. The image has blue accents in the striated clouds and in the shadows of the buildings and brown accents in the ground. The image depicts a line of barracks starting on the right in the foreground and diminish to the left into the background.

Born Zoroku Obata in Okayama-ken, Japan in 1885, Obata moved to California in 1903 and was one of the earliest Japanese artists to live and work in the United States. Obata was the first artist of Japanese descent to be a faculty member at UC Berkeley, where he started teaching in 1932. In 1942 he and his family were removed from Berkeley and imprisoned at the Tanforan temporary detention center and Topaz Japanese American incarceration camp under Executive Order 9066. At Tanforan, Obata started an art school with George Matsusaburo Hibi which he continued upon transfer to Topaz, teaching hundreds of students and creating a large body of artwork depicting everyday life in the camps and surrounding landscapes. Obata became a naturalized citizen in 1954, a year after retiring as Professor Emeritus from UC Berkeley. He spent the rest of his life traveling widely, lecturing and demonstrating Japanese brush painting. Obata is most well-known for his signature style of painting which blends Japanese and Western techniques and his large-scale landscapes. He also created an award-winning series of color woodblock prints at the Takamizawa Print Works in Japan inspired by his 1927 trip to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada. Chiura Obata died on October 6, 1975 at age 89.

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Japanese American


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Koho Yamamoto

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2016.0152.31Accession Number: 2016.0152Catalog Number: 2016.0152.31

Object Name: painting

Physical Description: paper (overall material)paint (overall material)painted (overall production method/technique)brown (overall color)blue (overall color)pink (overall color)green (overall color)Measurements: overall: 9 3/4 in x 13 1/4 in; 24.765 cm x 33.655 cm


Record Id: nmah_1812624

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