Share in the footsteps with Sansei artists and musicians in this multi-site experience connecting two powerful exhibitions at the Presidio. The artists’ work is a reflection and response to their families’ incarceration during World War II. The journey begins at “Exclusion: The Presidio’s Role in WWII” at the Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., then travels to “Then They Came For Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties” at Building 100.
Karen Korematsu, daughter of civil rights advocate Fred T. Korematsu, will share her father’s story at “Exclusion” and artist Judy Shintani will share “Deconstructed Kimono,” a dramatic installation prominently featured in the entry.
Following the short tour, join a procession to Building 100 led by fue player Kallan Nishimoto, with percussion by Ellen Bepp and rhythms by Maze Daiko (Janet Koike, Tina Blaine, Kathryn Cabunoc, and Jeanie Mckenzie).
Upon arrival, “The Heart of the Mountain,” a tribute to Koike’s grandfather, will be performed by Maze Daiko. Inside Building 100, view the contemporary art installation by Sansei Granddaughters, on display through Aug. 4, as part of the “Then They Came for Me” exhibition and meet participating visual artists Bepp, Reiko Fujii, Shari Arai DeBoer and Judy Shintani.
“Sansei Granddaughters’ Journey,” a short film on the collaborating artists, will be screened in the gallery at 1 p.m., followed by a brief dialogue.
“Then They Came For Me” is a special multimedia exhibition featuring imagery by noted photographers commissioned by the U.S. government’s War Relocation Authority, including Dorothea Lange and Clem Albers, along with photographers Ansel Adams, Toyo Miyatake and Paul Kitagaki, Jr., as well as a range of artifacts from the period. Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free and open to the public. Info: www.thentheycame.org
The PresidiGo Downtown Shuttle provides free round-trip service to the Presidio. The shuttle picks up at the Transbay Terminal or Embarcadero BART.
If you are driving, be sure that you are driving to the Presidio (zip code 94129), not the 100 Montgomery located downtown.
Ramp access is available at the back of the building on Taylor Road between Sheridan Road and Bliss Avenue. This building is ADA-compliant.
Karen Korematsu is the founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and the daughter of the late civil rights icon Fred Korematsu. Since her father’s passing in 2005, she has carried on his legacy as a public speaker, educator and civil rights advocate. She shares her father’s passion for social justice and education and in 2009 established the Fred T. Korematsu Institute to advance racial equity, social justice and human rights for all.
The institute’s work has expanded from K-12 civic education to promoting public civic engagement and participation. She crisscrosses the country speaking to audiences from kindergarten to judges and inspiring and promoting Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on Jan. 30 (her father’s birthday).
Shari Arai DeBoer is a third-generation Japanese American, born and raised in the East Bay. With a degree in architecture, she worked as an architect before shifting her focus to art. In her art practice she examines wonders of the natural world, the minutiae of everyday life and her family’s stories. She is active in art collectives and organizations that work to give voice to Asian Pacific American and women’s perspectives.
Ellen Bepp is a mixed-media artist and taiko musician who has aspired to give voice to her Japanese cultural roots through visual and musical expression. Since 1980 she has exhibited her art nationally, including at the Oakland Museum of California, Berkeley Art Center, Euphrat Museum of Art and Jamaica Arts Center, New York. Her work has spanned various media: wearable art, collaborative installations, theatrical costume and set design, collage and hand-cut paper. In addition, her political activism and interest in the folk arts and weaving traditions of Latin America has inspired her arts research and humanitarian cultural exchange projects in Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua and Cuba.
Starting taiko training in 1974 under Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka of San Francisco Taiko Dojo, Bepp went on to perform with San Jose Taiko. In 1999 she co-founded Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble, with whom she performed nationally and internationally. She strives to integrate a multi-disciplinary vision into the art of taiko, and continues to explore the political connection between art, culture and humanity, informed by her identity as an Asian American woman artist.
Reiko Fujii was born in 1950 in Riverside, four years after her parents, grandparents, and other relatives were released from their imprisonment in WWII American concentration camps. Her life and art have forever been intertwined with the influence of the camps on her family. Her art reflects a determination to preserve stories…..the stories of her ancestors, the stories of the Japanese American experience, as well as stories of the mundane and extraordinary.
Ultimately, these imprints inhabit her and become her own story as expressed in kiln-formed glass, performance pieces, installation art, photography, video, documentaries, book arts, and more. Her “Detained Alien Enemy Glass Kimono” gave rise to a personally emotional wearable art piece. Individual photographs of her family, friends and acquaintances, while they were incarcerated, are fused onto 224 handmade glass frames. This kimono comes alive when worn, as the glass strikes together, creating the sound of wind chimes.
Judy Shintani has focused much of her art career on researching and creating works that give voice to incarceree memories and hidden stories about this time. She has exhibited and conducted social engagement events throughout the United States and internationally. Shintani has been an artist in residence at Santa Fe Art Institute, Creativity Explored for Disabled Adults, and was a fellow at Vermont Studio Center. Her upcoming Innocent Dreamer Exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara has been awarded the California Civil Liberties Public Education grant from the California Library Foundation.
Kallan Nishimoto received Bachelor of Music degrees in music education and clarinet performance from the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music. He studied shamisen with Hideko Nakajima and shakuhachi with Masayuki Koga of the Japanese Music Institute, and has trained under Grand Master Tanaka of San Francisco Taiko Dojo. He has composed music and has designed sound for the Asian American Theater Company, Asiantics Theater, Wise Fool Puppet Intervention, Cellspace, Oneness Butoh as well as various film, video and dance projects.
Nishimoto has co-founded or worked with various funk, rock and world music ensembles such as Littletown, Bolo, Rebecca’s Mask, Jane His Wife, Candide, Drumfire, Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble and Rain Taiko Ensemble. He currently works as a producer/recording engineer at Flytrap Studios.
Maze Daiko: In Japanese, the word mazeru means “to mix.” Maze Daiko is a world music ensemble that continues to evolve by mixing Japanese taiko with West African drums and marimba, and European violin, creating an innovative sound. Artistic Director Janet Koike trained with San Francisco Taiko Dojo, and was part of San Jose Taiko’s artistic team. The members of Maze Daiko include Kathryn Cabunoc, Tina Blaine (aka bean), Carolyn West, and Elaine Fong, who have many collective years of experience in taiko or musical groups including Emeryville Taiko, D’CuCKOO and Rhythmix ensemble. This mix of musicians combined with Maze Daiko’s newest member, violinist Jeannie Mckenzie, create original music with a unique cultural style.
In 2008, Maze worked with First Voice (Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu) to create “the Legend of Morning Glory,” combining kabuki story, jazz, and taiko. Maze was featured at the 2015 North American Taiko Conference and has collaborated in concert with Kodo Artists, Yoko Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima and Kaoru Watanabe, Ensohza Minyoshu, First Voice and On Ensemble. In 2016, Maze created and performed the music for multi-disciplinary site specific art event, “Island City Waterways.”