Americans Incarcerated: A Family’s Story of Social Injustice
Americans Incarcerated: A Family’s Story of Social Injustice is an evolving collaboration between Jan and Chris Hopkins (Everett, WA) to memorialize the eviction of Japanese Americans during World War II. Executive Order 9066, issued by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorized the evacuation of all persons deemed a threat to national security from the West Coast. Over 100,000 adults and children of Japanese ancestry were sent to assembly centers, then housed in guarded facilities known as internment camps.
Their exhibition is inspired by Jan’s desire to learn more about her cultural identity. As a child of interned Japanese Americans, she grew up with little knowledge of her heritage or what her family endured. The journey begins with the story of Jan’s parents, who met at Camp Harmony, a temporary processing facility at the Puyallup Fairgrounds.
The artists’ visual narrative combines Jan’s figurative sculptures and mixed media vignettes with Chris’ two-dimensional oil paintings, Sumi ink block prints, and charcoal drawings. Jan is renowned for her basketry and sculptural fiber art, working with unconventional natural materials. Her husband, Chris, enjoyed a high-profile career in the world of commercial illustration art and now celebrates stories of American perseverance through art.
Their work is engaging, beautiful, and heartbreaking all at once. It portrays the range of fear, racism, alienation, and loss experienced through this fateful chapter in American history. It also honors the resilience and patriotism many chose to embrace. The exhibition offers space to learn more about the Japanese American exclusion during World War II, and discuss the wide range of opinions, repercussions, and semantics associated with it today.
This exhibition coincides with the 80th Anniversary of the Japanese American Exclusion from Bainbridge Island on March 30 2022, the first such removal of West Coast residents. In 2018, Jan and Chris Hopkins displayed Americans Interned: A Family’s Story of Social Injustice at the Schack Art Center in Everett, where they received an Artists of the Year award and have continued to expand this project.