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Conversation

Hibi, Hisako [ bio ]

Conversation
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painting
H: 20 in, W: 16 in, Frame: 21 x 17 in
oil
canvas

Topaz, Utah, 1945

(96.601.45)

Gift of Ibuki Hibi Lee

Description

Framed, stretched canvas nailed to stretcher edge of canvas taped to stretcher, 8 keys in stretcher. Image of snow scene with woman holding a broom and man in center foreground, talking.

Inscription
Signed LR: Hisako Hibi / March 1945. Verso: inscription "Across in front of our apartment Hisako Hibi, March 1945." Label on stretcher "#60 conversation March 1945 20x16".

History
In this painting Hisako Hibi captures a moment of intimacy between two figures. Positioned outdoors within a snowy landscape, the man and woman in the foreground conduct a private conversation. At the left, the edge of a barrack frames the image. In the background is another barrack building which stands against a hazy sky. Two figures in the distance make their way through the snow, heads bowed and carrying buckets in each hand. As viewers we are positioned at the same level as the two figures in conversation. In this way we are allowed access to the scene and the couple, as if eavesdropping on their private moment. Their intimacy is buttressed by their close proximity to each other. Thus, while we are allowed to enter their space by being positioned at their level, we are also prevented from interfering with their conversation. We are physically closed off from their space since the woman stands with her back to the viewer, thereby, obstructing a view of their faces. The scene can be identified as that of camp, due to the barracks. However, the focus in this work is on the relationship between the couple in conversation.

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 (collections@janm.org).

 

 

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