This piece was inspired from a conversation I had with my amazing cousin Satsuki Ina at our Mitsui Family Reunion this summer. She brought up the story of how women, including her mother, made paper flowers to brighten the dreary barracks, for gifts, for celebrations, and for funerals. She researched it further and sent me a couple of articles from Densho with pictures. I was shocked at how realistic and beautiful the flowers were, and seeing the pictures brought a whole new take on the vision.
Next was talking with Ryan Kozu who leads the Minidoka Pilgrimage each year. He shared with me his pictures of the camp and gave descriptions of each building. I used the sumi ink to convey the darkness of the circumstance and how the flowers rose above it, Ryan had a different take as he saw the dust storms that blew through Minidoka.
I did this piece in my mind a thousand times before actually starting it. Curiously enough, the end result is not what I had pictured in the beginning. There are many messages tucked away in this one that weren't there in the beginning. I have no apologies, it is where it took me.
My mom actually took the class in camp. When she saw the finished piece, she laughed and laughed because she remembered how she just couldn't get the hang of creating the flowers. This one is for her, my cousin Satsuki and her mom.