Featuring: Emily Hanako Momohara
Presented byFor Freedoms
During WWII, my family was incarcerated because of their Japanese heritage. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an unconstitutional use of power, signed Executive Order 9066 indiscriminately incarcerating Japanese Americans. In many cases, families were separated. Even those who were able to be imprisoned together suffered emotionally, physically, and economically.
Now I see others just like my Bachan and our family, who are being demonized and separated from their families. Recent accounts of children being taken from from parents at the U.S. / Mexico border break my heart and inspire me to speak out through art. Using documentation of the WWII incarceration to compare today and the past, I stand firm with immigrants in Never Again is Now!
Family Incarceration: Never Again is Now was originally produced as a billboard in Nampa, Idaho, not far from the sites where Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during WWII.
Emily Hanako Momohara grew up outside of Seattle, Washington. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Washington, as well as her Master of Fine Arts in Expanded Media from the University of Kansas. She now serves as associate professor of Art at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where she heads the photography major.
In 2015, Momohara’s two person exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles was titled Sugar Islands. She has exhibited nationally including at 21c Museum Hotel, the Changjiang Museum (China) and others. She was awarded many artist residencies including the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Headlands Center for the Arts in California, and the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle.
We believe citizenship is defined by participation, not by ideology. Through non-partisan nationwide programming, we use art as as vehicle for participation to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values. We are a hub for artists, arts institutions, and citizens who want to be more engaged in public life.
Founded in 2016 by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms is a platform for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action. Inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (1941)—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—For Freedoms’ exhibitions, installations, and public programs use art to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values, and to advocate for equality, dialogue, and civic participation. As a nexus between art, politics, commerce, and education, For Freedoms aims to inject anti-partisan, critical thinking that fine art requires into the political landscape through programming, exhibitions, and public artworks. In 2018, For Freedoms launched the 50 State Initiative: the largest creative collaboration in U.S. history.