Tuesday, April 16, 2013

UNI Art History Symposium | Roger Shimomura

Symposium Poster |  Desiree Dahl (2013)

About eight years ago, art historian William Lew (who was once my department head) produced an exhibition catalog about the artwork of Japanese-American artist Roger Shimomura. During World War II, simply because of their ethnicity, three generations of Shimomura's family (as a child, he was among them) were imprisoned in an American concentration camp, called Minidoka, in south central Idaho, about 20 miles from Twin Falls. That catalog, titled Minidoka Revisited: The Paintings of Roger Shimomura, was published by the Lee Gallery at Clemson University (2005), where Lew was teaching at the time. It was beautifully designed by one of our former students, Jessica Barness, who now teaches graphic design at Kent State University. I reviewed it for Leonardo Reviews, which I saw as an opportunity to remind myself and others of that deplorable episode in American history.

On Friday, April 19, on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa, there will be another chance to remember these injustices, in relation to the artwork of Roger Shimomura. Through the efforts of two UNI colleagues, art historians Charles Adelman and Elizabeth Sutton, William Lew is coming back to serve as the juror and guest lecturer at the UNI Department of Art's 3rd Annual Art History Symposium. The evening's events (to be held in the auditorium of the Kamerick Art Building) begin at 5:30 pm, with scholarly presentations by two current undergraduate art history students, Carlton James Miller ("Mauricio: For an Eye an Eye") and Brittany Deal ("Romare Bearden: The Great Migration as a Black Odyssey"). Following that, at 6:00 pm, will be the announcement of juror's awards, and the keynote address by William Lew, titled "Messages: An Asian American Perspective (The Art of Roger Shimomura)." This annual symposium, which is always interesting, is free and open to the public.

One final note: A hint of Shimomura's work can be seen on this web page, where I've posted two variations on the symposium poster, designed by Desiree Dahl, one of our current graphic design students who works as an intern in the publicity section (directed by Sarah Pauls) of the Dean's Office of the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences. The second version (below) was the one that was actually published, but the first one is equally poignant, and, like King Solomon, I could not choose between the two.

Symposium Poster | Desiree Dahl (2013)