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Culture notes: WWII Japanese-American art at Breman Museum; Gwinnett arts leaders honored

VISUAL ARTS
WWII Japanese-American art at Breman Museum

In Japanese, gaman means to bear the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience.

Those qualities are readily evident in the Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum exhibition opening Sunday, “The Art of Gaman: Arts & Crafts from Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946.”

The exhibit showcases more than 100 objects crafted by Japanese-Americans in U.S. internment camps during World War II — tools, teapots, furniture, toys and games, musical instruments, pendants and pins, purses, ornamental displays and more.

In the 10 inland camps where all ethnic Japanese on the West Coast were ordered to move following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the internees used scraps and found materials to make furniture and other objects to beautify their surroundings. Beyond the creature comforts they provided, arts and crafts formed a salve of emotional survival.

The Breman is the only Southeast stop for “The Art of Gaman,” which had an acclaimed run at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in 2010-11. The show was curated by San Francisco author Delphine Hirasuna, based on her 2005 book “The Art of Gaman” (Ten Speed Press, $35).

“When all has been taken away from you, the only thing to hang on to is your creativity,” Hirasuna told Art Works, the blog of the National Endowment for the Arts. “It allows you to own your personality.”

The internment of the 120,000 Japanese-Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, was set in motion when, in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066.

The Breman will host a Chai Tea in commemoration on Feb. 19, the 70th anniversary of the Executive Order’s signing. (Chai is Hebrew for “life.”) Consul General of Japan Takuji Hanatani will be the guest of honor at the 2-5 p.m. event ($70), and curator Hirasuna will speak about the artists and their works.

Breman hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Through May 31. $12, $8 ages 62 and up, $6 students, $4 ages 3-6, free under 3. 1440 Spring St. N.E., Atlanta. 678-222-3700, www.thebreman.org.

ARTS
Gwinnett honorees

Fusion: 1st Annual ArtWorks! Gwinnett Awards, held Jan. 23 at the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth, bestowed honors on a number of long-time and emerging Gwinnett County arts leaders.

Margaret Parsons Andrews, who had the essential vision for the Hudgens Center, received the highest honor, the Vision Award. And lifetime achievement awards went to Cynthia Sutt, Ann Parsons Odum and Barbara Howard.

Hudgens Center executive director Teresa Osborn won arts leader of the year, and Lawrenceville’s Aurora Theatre took arts presenter honors. Full list: http://new.artworksgwinnett.com/?page_id=798.

ArtWorks! Gwinnett was founded in 2008 to cultivate arts opportunities in the county. Sally A. Corbett began as its first executive director in June 2011.

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