San Diego State University professor and artist Wendy Maruyama is surrounded by ladders and tools as she installs a piece of woodwork. SDSU’s University Gallery is slowly transforming from a construction site to a glimpse into a scene from 1942. “It’s amazing how few people knew about this,” Maruyama says. “I remember when I was in high school myself, this was not talked about during his tory classes. They talked about the Holocaust, but they didn’t talk about the internment camps.”
Maruyama’s upcoming exhibition, The Tag Project / Executive Order 9066—which opens from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and is on view through May 3—is dedicated to bringing that piece of history back and memorializing the Japanese Americans who were sent to internment camps during World War II.
Maruyama worked alongside internees from the camps to hand-write tags symbolizing each of an estimated 120,000 Japanese Americans. She says the process of writing peoples’ names on the tags had a meditative effect. Maruyama has strung together the tags, which will hang in bundles—10 in all to represent each camp—from the gallery ceiling.
At the entrance of the gallery, internees’ suitcases and trunks are stacked tall. Mounted cabinet displays filled with artifacts and photographs from the camps wind through the hallways. Viewers end the experience by weaving through the hanging bundles of thousands of fluttering tags.
“The tags kind of look like figures,” Maruyama says. “Really tall, hovering figures, and they sort of rustle when people walk by. There’s a spiritual quality of the work.”
Maruyama hopes that people will investigate and learn about the internment camps after seeing her exhibition.
“This is how you can allow some emotional response to a historical event,” she says. “It’s interesting to look at, and people can interpret it in different ways.”
From the deep
It’s been 100 years since the Titanic sank into the North Atlantic Ocean, killing more than 1,500 passengers in one of the biggest maritime disasters in history. Thanks to James Cameron’s romantic tale of Jack and Rose, with an assist from that steamy car-sex scene, the Titanic has also become a piece of pop culture. The San Diego Natural History Museum will honor the history with Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, opening Friday, Feb. 10. On display will be items retrieved from the ship, including fine china, perfume and pieces of the ocean liner itself. Visitors will hear some of the compelling human stories of those who were on the ship and walk through room re-creations. On view through Sept. 9. Tickets are $27, with various discounts available. Read more about the exhibition.
Separate and unequal
Here we are, into the second decade of the 21st century, and the glass ceiling is still a sturdy barrier stopping women from rising to their rightful places—at the top levels of business and politics—alongside men. Writer and director Jennifer Siebel Newsom explored the dynamics of the gender disparity, including the media’s role, in her documentary Miss Representation, which premiered a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, which features interviews with influential women like Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow, Condoleezza Rice and Gloria Steinem, will screen at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in the Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s La Jolla location (700 Prospect St.). A panel discussion will follow. Get $10 presale tickets at outsidethelens.org, or pay $15 at the door.