Beyond the Art: Life Experiences Before and After Japanese American Internment Camps

Erie, PA, March 07, 2012 --( Precious Vida Yamaguchi, professor of communication at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, will present a talk Friday, March 30 at 7 p.m. at the Erie Art Museum. Her presentation will focus on Japanese Americans' narratives and life experiences before, during and after World War II Internment Camps. Yamaguchi will share from her dissertation, titled "World War II Internment Camp Survivors: The Stories and Life Experiences of Japanese American Women,” and also experiences from her grandparents’ time in internment camps.

Yamaguchi is a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University's doctoral program with research emphases in critical studies, international communication, intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, health communication, and new media. Her academic research is interdisciplinary focusing broadly on issues of culture, identity, generation, health, transnational labor, art, new media, and international textile markets. In addition to her Ph.D., she earned her M.A. in communication from Pepperdine University and B.A. in studio art from Humboldt State University in California.

Yamaguchi’s talk is in conjunction with the Museum’s Main Gallery exhibit, Minidoka On My Mind: Works by Roger Shimomura. A Japanese-American, Shimomura creatively engages with his dual identity. He and his family were detained at Camp Minidoka in Idaho from 1942 to 1944. The Shimomuras were among the 120,000 people of Japanese descent incarcerated following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The artist’s Minidoka series, largely inspired by the diaries of his grandmother, captures the quality of life at the camps and its impact on Japanese-Americans. Shimomura has made a lasting impression on the contemporary art world with his bold, forthright approach and flat-planed aesthetic. His Minidoka series is a leading example, conflating American and Japanese imagery in a commentary on sociopolitical issues, cultural exchange and aesthetics.

The lecture will be held in the Museum’s Multipurpose Room and is free and open to the public.

About the Erie Art Museum
The Erie Art Museum anchors downtown Erie’s cultural and economic revitalization, occupying a group of restored mid-19th century commercial buildings and a modern, ‘Green,’ 10,500 square foot expansion. The newly expanded Museum marks the first LEED-certified building in the region, soon to be complete with a planted rooftop.

The Museum maintains an ambitious program of changing exhibitions annually, and holds a collection of over 6,000 objects, which includes significant works in American ceramics, Tibetan painting, Indian bronzes, contemporary baskets, and a variety of other categories.

The Museum offers a wide range of education programs and artists’ services including interdisciplinary and interactive school tours and a wide variety of classes for the community. Performing arts are showcased in the 25-year-old Contemporary Music Series, which represents national and international performers of serious music with an emphasis on composer/performers, and a popular annual two-day Blues & Jazz Festival.

The Erie Art Museum, café, and gift shop is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. For additional visitor information, visit online at or call 814-459-5477.

Erie Art Museum
Carolyn Eller