Exhibit: The Art of Living: Japanese American Creative Experience at Rohwer (Rosalie Gould’s collection recently donated to the Butler Center)

The Art of Living Flyer (click to open flyer)

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System, will launch the multimedia exhibition The Art of Living: Japanese American Creative Experience at Rohwer during 2nd Friday Art Night, September 9, in the Arkansas Studies Institute’s Concordia Hall (401 President Clinton Ave.). The exhibition will feature internee art and other objects from the World War II–era Rohwer Relocation Center in Desha County.

This is a historically significant collection that explores human creativity under dire conditions. The internees, who were rounded up and forced to leave their homes on the West Coast, incorporated many different types of media into their works, including canvas, paper, fabric and found objects such as wood, rocks and nuts. The exhibition will incorporate a cell-phone audio tour, a student-created video and computers with links to various oral histories, holdings in other archives and additional resources. Two lectures will be held in conjunction with the exhibition.

About the collection

In 2010, Rosalie Santine Gould of McGehee donated her extraordinary collection of artwork and other materials from the World War II–era Japanese American internment camp at Rohwer to the Butler Center. The art had been created in the camp under the tutelage of art teacher Jamie Vogel, who collected and saved her students’ art in the years following the war and willed it to Gould.

There were 10 such camps around the country, most in the western United States. Two were in Arkansas, at Jerome and Rohwer. The collection includes several hundred paintings and other works of art produced by U.S. citizens of Japanese descent who were interned during World War II.

Appraiser Jennifer Carman describes the materials Gould has given the Butler Center as “unique among internment collections” and cites experts who have said it contains artwork and documents that are “truly unmatched among objects in public collections.” The collection also includes a large amount of material documenting day-to-day life in the camp, which had its own school system, police department and mayor.

The Art of Living will be on view September 9 through November 26.

Art of Living events:

Exhibition opening
2nd Friday Art Night
Friday, September 9, 5 to 8 p.m.
Arkansas Studies Institute (401 President Clinton Ave.)

Dishongh Distinguished Lecture
Thursday, September 15, 6:30 p.m.
(exhibit will remain open until 6:30 for pre-lecture viewing)
Darragh Center, Main Library (100 Rock St.)

Delphine Hirasuna, author of The Art of Gaman, will discuss the creativity of Japanese Americans interned in camps across the United States during World War II.

Legacies & Lunch

Wednesday, October 5, noon to 1 p.m.
Darragh Center, Main Library (100 Rock St.)
Lie Schiffer, daughter of Rosalie Santine Gould, will discuss her new book Camp Nine, a novel based on life at the Rohwer Relocation Center.

For more information about the exhibit or to schedule a guided tour, please contact Caroline Millar at (501) 320-5793 or cmillar@cals.org.