"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."
— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project
SAN BRUNO BART–Tanforan Incarceration 1942; Resilience Behind Barbed Wire is a new exhibit curated by artist Na Omi Judy Shintania Japanese American artist who has focused much of her art on researching and creating works that give voice to internee memories and hidden stories about this time.
The Tanforan mall and adjacent BART station were once the site of the Tanforan racetrack, which in 1942 was transformed into a temporary detention center where nearly 8,000 people were imprisoned between April 28 and Oct. 12 prior to transfer to long-term concentration camps.
Saturday, August 27, 2022, 1-4 p.m.
San Bruno BART Station
1151 Huntington Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066
Admission is free to view the exhibit.
This exhibition honors and acknowledges these prisoners who lived in the repurposed racetrack. Though the hastily whitewashed horse stables covered the horsehair and bugs on the walls, the indignity, stench, and filthiness could not be hidden. However, even while surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, a bright spirit of resilience flourished among the prisoners.
The current exhibition replaces an earlier display that memorialized the 70th anniversary of Tanforan. The revised presentation provides an expanded understanding of the 1942 Tanforan incarceration through personal stories, artist interpretations, and intergenerational experiences.
A special feature of the exhibit is a selection of works from Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Paul Kitagaki’s project Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit, which pairs historic photos by Dorothea Lange of incarcerated persons of Japanese descent with contemporary images by Kitagaki of the same persons and allow them an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the incarceration.
Also occurring on the 8/27 opening day will be the unveiling of the Tanforan Memorial outside of the San Bruno Station. The Tanforan Memorial is the culmination of ten years of dedicated work by the Tanforan Assembly Center Memorial Committee to realize a permanent recognition of the long-disappeared site of the Tanforan Detention Center.
Attendees are encouraged to take BART or other transit to the event. Free parking will be available at the BART station parking facility on the day of the opening event.
For more information about the exhibit, contact Jennifer Easton – firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Tanforan Memorial: https://www.tanforanmemorial.org/
This project is supported by a Humanities for All Project Grant.
The exhibit received generous support from BART, a Humanities for All grant from California Humanities, a Japanese American Confinement Sites grant from the National Parks Service.