Sunday, October 16, 2016

BAM Plus

                                                                                                                 Photo © 2016 Teresa Tamura

The October 7th opening reception of Minidoka: Artist as Witness at the Boise Art Museum was bittersweet. I was happy and appreciative to see the community of people who turned out and sad to think that current events continue to reflect racism in our country.

Before the doors opened at 5:30 p.m., I met with a small group of BAM supporters. Barbara Johns, art historian, curator and author, joined me as she discussed the work of Takuichi Fujii. Her fourth book, Witness to Wartime: Takuichi Fujii, will be released in 2017. Then at 6 p.m. Melanie Fales, executive director, addressed the crowd. Robert Hirai, Honorary Consul of Japan and native of Caldwell, Idaho followed her with comments that evoked laughter and tears. Special thanks go to the staff at BAM, especially Nicole Herden, the curator of art, and June Black, associate curator.

On Saturday morning, Betty Sims joined me for a brief gallery talk at BAM, the start of a cultural excursion for a group led by Terra Feast, BAM curator of education. Afterwards, they headed over to Ontario to visit Four Rivers Cultural Center.

                                                                                Photo © 2016 Teresa Tamura
Don and Susan Curtis volunteer as docents for the
Wassmuth Center for Human Rights in Boise, Idaho.

Thanks to Annie Chalfant, I connected with Don Curtis, a volunteer docent with the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights. The day before BAM’s event Don and his wife, Susan, gave me a tour of the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. I also had a chance to meet Dr. Dan Prinzing, the executive director of WCHR.

When I first began photographing Minidoka in 2001, then Executive Director Les Bock of the Idaho Human Rights Education Center (now WCHR), contacted me about exhibiting some of the photos. Thanks to his help, my first ten photos were exhibited in Boise and Pocatello in 2002, the same year the Anne Frank memorial was constructed. I highly recommend visiting this site and supporting Wassmuth Center for Human Rights. 

Don arranged for me to meet with a group of volunteer docents for their monthly meeting held in the Boise Public Library. Some additional guests were present including a friend and college classmate of my brother, Doug. I learned his friend’s mother and grandparents had been in Minidoka, another reminder of how many lives were impacted.

Seniors seem especially interested in history. The following week I met with two different groups: members of Boise at Home, a session organized by Diane Ronayne; and participants of New Knowledge Adventures – Treasure Valley, organized and coordinated by Micki Kawakami. I enjoyed meeting everyone and hearing some new stories.

Now back at home, I noticed tonight the Idaho Statesman published a story by Anna Webb about the exhibition and Civil Liberties Symposium held Oct. 15 and 16. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the symposium but have many new connections and reconnections to new and old friends from my recent time in Idaho.

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