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Water tank

Hibi, Hisako [ bio ]

Water tank
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H: 20 in, W: 24 in

Topaz, Utah, September 1944


Gift of Ibuki Hibi Lee


Unframed stretched canvas. Image of a child walking down a sidewalk with barracks and sunflowers. There is a water tank in the background.

Signed, LL: Hisako Hibi / Sept 1944

Topaz concentration camp received its water through a hastily constructed plumbing system. The water tanks located just beyond the confines of the camp were the major supply source. Despite the centrality of the water tank in this painting and the reference to it in the title, the tank itself does not catch the viewer's eye. Instead, the brightly colored sunflowers which line the outside of the two barracks portrayed here draw the viewer's attention. Hibi often remarked on the fact that sunflowers were among the few plants that could be grown in the desert climate. As a way to try and beautify the otherwise drab landscape of Topaz, internees began to plant vegetables, trees and flowers around their barracks. A child appears to walk alone along the gravel paths also created by the internees.

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