Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Coalescence in confinement: Cultural synthesis and identity in Michi Tanaka's "Community Life"
by Sanders, Kimberly L., M.A., University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2013, 128; 1548147
Abstract (Summary)

Community Life by Michi Tanaka was one of eight government commissioned murals created by students at Rohwer Relocation Center in 1944 illustrating the Japanese American evacuation and relocation. The final versions of these works no longer exist. The preparatory drafts, however, remain intact and provide valuable information regarding the artists' experiences at Rohwer. Through an iconographic analysis of Tanaka's mural draft and an exploration of themes and principal elements in her life at camp such as religion, fashion and socialization, this thesis suggests that Community Life illustrates a cultural synthesis between two disparate cultures. This synthesis influenced the development of a bicultural identity, specifically among Nisei (or the American-born children of Japanese immigrants) such as Tanaka. The mural can be viewed as an introspective consideration of Tanaka's incarceration in which the cultural conflict of her Japanese heritage and American citizenry seems to have been resolved artistically.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Amrhein, Laura M.
Commitee: Martin, Floyd W., Miller-Lewis, Johanna, Williams-Smith, Marjorie
School: University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Department: Art
School Location: United States -- Arkansas
Source: MAI 52/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: American studies, American history, Art history
Keywords: Art history, Internment, Japanese American, Michi Tanaka
Publication Number: 1548147
ISBN: 978-1-303-53018-0
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