John Tonai’s father, Minoru Tonai, walks up the gravel road away from the Amache, Colo. block where members of his family and he lived during World War II.  (Photo by John Tonai)
 

The Greater Los Angeles JACL Chapter will present a virtual program on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 1 p.m.

“Look to the Sky: America’s Concentration Camps” is a documentary photography project by John Tonai depicting the contemporary physical conditions of the 10 World War II War Relocation Authority camps — Manzanar and Tule Lake in California; Poston and Gila River in Arizona; Jerome and Rohwer in Arkansas; Heart Mountain in Wyoming; Topaz in Utah; Minidoka in Idaho; and Amache in Colorado.

The initial project took place from 1990-1992. Since that time, Tonai has revisited most of the sites and recorded the changes that have taken place.

Tonai will talk about the photos in the exhibit.

The exhibit has been shown in various forms at different venues, including the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

The title comes from Tonai being inspired by the contrast between the mostly dead and ruined areas on the ground and the beautiful sunsets and clouds in the sky. This became the inspiration for capturing the camps in a way that emphasized both the horrors and beauty of the locations.

Tonai recently retired as an associate professor of photography at University of Northern Colorado. He currently works at JANM as a production coordinator and collections photographer.

For a Zoom link to the program and more information, email Louise at LSakamoto@sbcglobal.net.

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