Japanese American National Museum
Collections & Research

Sunflowers and Milky-Weeds

Hibi, Hisako [ bio ]

Sunflowers and Milky-Weeds
Enlarge Image (87.8KB)

H: 26 in, W: 22 in

Topaz, Utah, July 1943


Gift of Ibuki Hibi Lee


Unframed stretched canvas. Image of a still life with sunflowers and milky-weeds wrapped with a cloth. The colors are green and yellow.

Signed in caps, LL: Hisako Hibi / July 1943 ; BACK: 'Sunflowers and Milky Weeds' Flowers of Topaz

Hibi was fond of using the flowers and vegetables grown in camp to paint still life works. In this particular painting she depicts sunflowers and milky-weeds, which she refers to in the inscription on the back of the canvas as the "Flowers of Topaz." In other documents Hibi writes that the sunflower was one of the only plants that could endure the harsh weather conditions at Topaz, where temperatures ranged between 106 degrees to 30 degrees below zero in winter. Thus, while appearing to be composed of ordinary still life subject matter, this painting had special significance for Hibi who thought of these flowers as representative of life in Topaz. This still life then, resonates with its references to the location and historical context of its making.

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 (



Jump to Top of Page Japanese American National Museum home
Copyright © 1998-2018 Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles California 90012   ▪   phone: (213) 625-0414