Think of this site as a repository for ongoing art projects: works I make under the umbrella of the Shadow Reclamation Authority, as I visit the WWII American concentration camps for Japanese Americans.
Broadly, this work is about longing and land, memory and mythology, about ancestors, loss, and ersatz time travel. Specifically, this work is about my own family, their unlawful forced removal from the West Coast.
I employ a variety of mediums including sculpture, found objects, textiles, and photographs; I make site-responsive and site-informed works.
All images by G. Funo O'Kain unless otherwise noted.
Important notes about terminology and caring for each other's histories:
Some readers may have an emotional response to the use of terminology on this website that is historically associated with specific events, places, and people: namely the term "concentration camp" and its close association with the atrocities perpetrated against Jewish people by the Nazis.
The use of this terminology here is not meant to conflate or compare experiences, rather to reject euphemisms and propaganda that helped make the incarceration of Japanese Americans possible. I acknowledge that the debate over this terminology continues. Our language, like our understanding, is always evolving.
My decisions are informed by resources at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum here, and here, by the Densho statement on terminology, by The National JACL Power of Words Handbook (pages 12-13) and by ideas that are debated in this NPR article, and this article from the UCLA Newsroom in 2015.
By using the term "American concentration camp" when referring to these sites, my aim is to reject euphemistic language and to make a clear distinction between the human-rights violations that took place on American soil, versus the atrocities, genocide, and torture that took place in the Nazi concentration camps, forced labor camps, and killing centers.
About the Gila River American Concentration Camp: This site is located on private property belonging to the Gila River Indians, If you wish to visit the Gila River site, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Land acknowledgments are made and updated using guidance on the Whose Land resource. Please contact me directly if you want to offer feedback or to make suggestions.
All views expressed on this website are my own.