One of the aspects of the Japanese-Internment camps that figures prominently in “Take What You Can Carry” is what author and curator Delphine Hirasuna calls the “Art of Gaman.” “Gaman” is a japanese word that means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.” Faced with huge amounts of free time in a harsh and bleak situation, many of the internees used scavenged materials like scrap wood and burlap potato sacks as raw material for making beautiful arts and crafts. Many of the objects, like furniture, teapots, toys and musical instruments, served both a practical need as well as an artistic one. Others, such as pendants, bas-relief pictures and the carved birds I focused on served to beautify the raw, unfinished barracks the internees were forced to live in. All the objects, for me, are moving examples of the transformation power of art.
You can follow this link for a slideshow of some of this beautiful work. (LINK)