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In front of the auditorium
Hibi, Hisako
Date Created and/or Issued
Publication Information
Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Contributing Institution
Japanese American National Museum
Hibi (Hisako) Collection
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Unframed stretched canvas. Image of a winter scene with barracks on the right and left. There is only one on each side. There are also snow covered barracks in the background.
Winters in Topaz concentration camp were difficult because of the severe temperatures and lack of insulation for most buildings. The only positive aspect of the winters was the fact that the dust storms subsided. However, instead of the dust storms the snow and alkaline dirt turned into a sticky mud. Hisako Hibi suggests that environment with her painting of a winter scene in which the snowy ground appears tinged with a yellow and beige cast. A lone figure stands in the distance near the only other sign of life in the painting, a barren tree. The composition of the work is interesting, with the corner of a building at the far left making its way into the picture plane. It is unclear whether Hibi took some factual liberties in painting this work by inserting a section of the barbed wire fence in the foreground. The fence seems to run in front of the building on the left, suggesting that it stood outside of the confines of camp. It is possible that this building was used by the Caucasion administration of Topaz, since some of their facilities were located beyond the barbed wire fence. If this is the case, it is interesting to note that Hibi positions herself outside the confines of the fence, along with that structure at the left. In the artist's imagination she composed her view of camp from a slight distance, in the space beyond the enclosure.
Painting oil on canvas
Concentration Camps, Topaz | barracks | snow | fence

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