Japanese American National Museum
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Topaz Farm Products

Hibi, Hisako [ bio ]

Topaz Farm Products
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W: 22 in, Frame: 27 x 23 in, H: 26 in

Topaz, Utah, 1944


Gift of Ibuki Hibi Lee


Framed, stretched canvas. Lush, green still life with orange colored fruit at BC. Framed for exhibition.

Signed LR: Hisako Hibi / Sept. 1944 ; Verso: written on canvas "Tribute to Topaz Agricultural Dept. They provided us the fresh vegetables. They feed us with finest, freshest vegetables. The Topaz Products of the Agricultural Dept."

The Topaz agricultural department was created for a few different reasons. It was one way to pass the time during the otherwise boring days. There were also quite a few professional gardeners in the Japanese American community who put their expertise to work for the betterment of their fellow internees. The products of the agricultural department provided vegetables and flowers to the internees. The vegetables were important in supplementing the often mediocre army ration meals served in the mess halls. The fresh vegetables were thus highly prized by the internees. The plants and flowers also helped beautify the camp surroundings which lifted the spirits of at least some of those at Topaz. Hibi repeatedly remarked on her admiration for those who cultivated the alkaline soil of the desert.

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