Japanese American National Museum
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still life

Hibi, Hisako [ bio ]

still life
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H: 20 in, W: 16 in

San Bruno, Calif., August 1942


Gift of Ibuki Hibi Lee


Unframed stretched canvas. Image of corn and flowers in vase on cloth-covered table.

Singed LR: Hisako Hibi ; BACK: Tanforan Horse Stall May-Sept. 1942

Hisako Hibi was fond of painting still life works made up of the vegetables and flowers that were grown by other internees. In her writing Hibi often noted her deep appreciation of those who cultivated the land to grow these items. Many internees also worked to improve the landscape by planting flowers in front of their individual barrack apartments. In this work flowers are arranged in a vase which sit on a mustard-colored tablecloth around which are fruits and some corn. These items were all highly prized in Tanforan, especially considering the army ration meals that the government served in the assembly center. In the first few weeks at Tanforan many residents experienced digestive problems because of the inadequate meals being served. Fresh vegetables were a luxury in such a situation. In this painting Hibi displays these treasured items which did much to improve the standard of living in camp and helped beautify the otherwise somber environment.

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