“In the camps, first at Tanforan and then at Topaz in Utah, I had the opportunity to study the human race from the cradle to the grave, and to see what happens to people when reduced to one status and condition. Cameras and photographs were not permitted in the camps, so I recorded everything in sketches, drawings, and paintings."
-Miné Okubo, Citizen 13660
Miné Okubo (1912-2001) was born in Riverside, CA into a family of artists. Her mother, Miyo, was a calligrapher and painter. Her uncle was a painter who found inspiration in French impressionism and post impressionism and chose to spend much time in Paris as he could. Two of her siblings became artists, too.
The Okubo collection includes more than 8,000 pieces of art work, professional and personal papers, and memorabilia combined that Miné Okubo accumulated during the 50+ years she lived in the Greenwich Village area of New York City.
Japanese American artist Miné Okubo was an extraordinary woman who played a significant role in documenting the mid-20th century history of Japanese Americans in the United States. Her artwork and her outspoken commentary on social justice issues, particularly relating to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, brought her to the attention of a larger segment of the American public.