Japanese American National Museum
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Tanforan Race Track

Hibi, Hisako [ bio ]

Tanforan Race Track
Enlarge Image (87.8KB)

H: 16 in, W: 20 in

San Bruno, Calif., August 1942


Gift of Ibuki Hibi Lee


Unframed, stretched canvas. Image of dark barracks in center of racetrack, trees circling track and more buildings and mountains in background.

Signed in caps, LR: Hisako Hibi ; BACK: Tanforan Assembly Center Tanforan Race Track San Bruno, CA

This painting is another view of Tanforan from a bird's-eye perspective. It represents what Hibi probably imagined this scene to look like from a relatively high vantage point, a position beyond the confines of the race track. Hibi entitled this work "Tanforan Race Track" but further added the commentary that "The horse stalls were behind the eucalyptus trees." The scene that Hibi provides the viewer, however, situates the trees behind the horse stalls and not vice versa. Perhaps this reversal of orientation in Hibi's description of the painting suggests the artist's perspective from outside of the camp grounds. The emphasis is on the isolation of the camp, hidden behind a wall of trees. The high horizon line and shallow space of the painting contribute to the cramped feeling of the work.

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