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In front of my apt.

Hibi, Hisako [ bio ]

In front of my apt.
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H: 16 in, W: 20 in

Topaz, Utah, August 1944


Gift of Ibuki Hibi Lee


Unframed stretched canvas. Image of a young man by a barrack with a pail in his hand. There are sunflowers that are planted in front of the barracks. The door to the barrack is open.

BACK: Front of my APT 16-8 A+B Last day of August 1944 Ibuki Hibi

This is the only known painting to portray the specific barrack apartment occupied by the Hibis at Topaz concentration camp. Most of Hisako Hibi's works do not provide details of individuals or buildings. In this work Hibi focuses on the exterior of her particular living quarters. The small garden of flowers is in full bloom adding a spark of color to the drab barrack walls. A young boy, possibly meant to be Hibi's son, appears at the far right carrying a bucket. The viewer imagines that he is probably going to water the plants. In the doorway is a seated figure who is slightly obscured by the tall plants. The little gravel pathway further adds to the appearance of a tidy, cheerful home. In fact, the individual spaces allotted to families was a room only about 16 feet by 20 feet. The high winds constantly blew dust and dirt into the barracks through the cracks in the floor and the shoddy tar-papered walls. However, the portrait of the Hibi home is a relatively sweet one, without overt indications of the difficulties of camp life.

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 (



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