Throughout my career I have used images, information and objects from the popular culture to highlight selected social and political issues, attitudes and events. Modern warfare, with its complexities and attendant ironies, has been consistently present in my work. How we disseminate, receive and interpret information is also of specific interest to me. Continuing formal concerns include the use of paint as an expressive vehicle, and the interplay of small paintings in series.
Postcards from Camp
In February 1942, about ten weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which allowed 120,000 men, women and children of Japanese descent to be forcibly relocated to guarded camps at remote sites in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. Two-thirds of the internees were American citizens by birth and some were even World War I veterans. They had committed no wrong and were imprisoned without due process of law. Although the United States was at war with Italy and Germany as well as Japan, no comparable action was taken against white Americans of German or Italian descent, who were theoretically covered by the same executive order.
Ben Sakoguchi was held in a camp along with his family for the duration of World War II. In his multi-painting work Postcards From Camp, Sakoguchi relies on family photos to verify childhood recollections. He appropriates images recorded by military, civilian and internee photographers. He refers to documents, uses firsthand accounts and selects examples of social and political attitudes that were published at the time.