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Nidoto Nai Yoni: Opening Reception of John Matsunaga’s Photography Exhibition

January 26, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

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Title: Nidoto Nai Yoni: Forgetting and Remembering the Wartime Incarceration of Japanese Americans

Artist Statement: This exhibit presents photographs of the physical remnants of the ten American concentration camps that were used to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II. In 1942, approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans that lived within the western United States were forcibly removed from their homes, imprisoned in American concentration camps for up to four years, and denied their constitutional rights because of their Japanese ancestry.  This body of work explores the themes of memory and forgetting, particularly in regards to the loss in our understanding of this history that will inevitably occur when the last of those who went through this experience pass away and their lived memories vanish.

Biography: John Matsunaga is a Minneapolis based visual artist, educator, and activist.  His work in the visual arts explores Asian American and Japanese American history, identity, and experience.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Twin Cities chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and is a member of its education committee.  He also teaches in the Asian American Studies program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Location: East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul, MN 55106


  • On View: January 26 – February 24, 2018
  • Opening Reception: Friday, January 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Related Programming:

  • Opening Reception: Friday, January 26, 2018, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Discussion Panel: Saturday, February 10, 2018, 1:00-3:00 p.m. “Experiences of Wartime Displacement, Dispossession, and Confinement: the Japanese American Incarceration and Beyond.” A panel including members of Minnesota’s Japanese American, immigrant, and refugee communities will discuss their communities’ experiences of confinement, displacement, and eventual resettlement in Minnesota.  Audience members will be encouraged to share their experiences.
  • Artists Panel: Saturday, February 17, 2018, 1:00-3:00 p.m. “Representing and Resisting Historical Injustices through Art.” A panel of artists from diverse communities will join featured artist John Matsunaga in a conversation about how they have used their artistic practices to engage the historical injustices which have challenged their communities.  The artists will bring the experiences of not only diverse communities, but also various art forms into this conversation.​​
  • Film Screening and Discussion: Monday, February 19, 2018, 7:00-9:00 p.m. And Then They Came for Us (2017), a film by Abby Ginzberg and Ken Schneider. Seventy-five years ago, Executive Order 9066 paved the way to the profound violation of constitutional rights that resulted in the forced incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans. Featuring George Takei and many others who were incarcerated, as well as newly rediscovered photographs of Dorothea Lange, And Then They Came for Us brings history into the present, retelling this difficult story and following Japanese American activists as they speak out against the Muslim registry and travel ban. A post-screening discussion will be led by Yuichiro Onishi, Associate Professor of African American and African Studies and Asian American Studies, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Acknowledgments: John Matsunaga is a fiscal year 2017 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.  This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Additional funding for this exhibit is provided by the Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League through the Les and Karen Suzukamo Fund, the Donald S. Maeda Fund, and the Helen Tsuchiya Fund.

The East Side Freedom Library would like to thank the F.R. Bigelow Foundation, the Marbrook Foundation, and the McNeeley Foundation for making events and programs like this possible.

More information: 

For more information regarding the exhibit and related programming please visit: http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/


January 26, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


East Side Freedom Library
1105 Greenbrier Street
St. Paul, MN 55106
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