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Coal

Hibi, Hisako [ bio ]

Coal
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painting
H: 16 in, W: 20 in
oil
canvas

Topaz, Utah, September 1943

(96.601.13)

Gift of Ibuki Hibi Lee

Description

Unframed stretched canvas. Image of a red truck in a field with a fence around it. In the background are barracks and smoke.

Inscription
Signed in caps, LR: Hisako Hibi / Sept 1943 ; BACK: Coal Delivery for the Pot Berry (sic) stove

History
At the Topaz concentration camp each barrack was divided into separate spaces, or "apartments" as they were called. In actuality they were small, cramped quarters where families or groups of single men were housed. Each space was approximately sixteen by twenty feet. They were furnished with a pot-bellied stove which the internees used to heat their living quarters. For most internees it was a new experience to use a coal-burning stove. There were sometimes coal shortages which was yet another difficulty of camp life. Internees relied on the coal-burning stoves to provide the necessary warmth in the barracks during the severe winters in Utah. In this painting Hibi depicts a truck making a delivery of this precious commodity. The pile of coal appears as a large mass in front of a building, although it was not always in such great supply. Internees had to gather and haul their own supply of coal from a central place back to their barrack.

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management & Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).

 

 

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