Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens Presents New Exhibits: Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066 and Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani

On display Oct. 9, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2016

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens presents two exhibitions featuring the work of Japanese American artists Wendy Maruyama and Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani, both of whom drew upon the history and experiences of the Japanese American Internment to create works that explore art-making as a process of therapeutic healing. Commemorating the 70-year anniversary of the closing of the last internment camp, Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066 and Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani will be on display from October 9, 2015 through January 31, 2016.

Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the internment of tens of thousands of American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry. Wendy Maruyama, a third generation Japanese American and highly regarded artist and furniture maker based in San Diego, has created a compelling body of work that reflects upon this period in American history. The exhibition includes three integrated parts: Executive Order 9066, the Tag Project, and a selection of historical artifacts.

Executive Order 9066 encompasses a series of wall-mounted cabinets and sculptures referencing themes common in the internment camps. Maruyama’s pieces integrate photo transfers based on the documentary photographs of Dorothea Lange and Toyo Miyatake in conjunction with materials such as barbed wire, tarpaper and domestic objects. The Tag Project consists of groupings of 120,000 recreated paper identification tags suspended from the ceiling. The suspended tags evoke a powerful sense of the humiliation endured by the internees and the sheer numbers of those displaced. Maruyama’s inclusion of actual objects owned or made by the internees brings an intensely personal awareness to the impact of Executive Order 9066. Included objects range from actual suitcases used by families during their relocation to an array of items made by internees from materials available to them in the camps.

Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066 was organized by The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, Massachusetts, and funded in part by the Windgate Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation.

Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani

Tsutomu “Jimmy” Mirikitani (1920 – 2012) was a fiercely independent Japanese American artist who lost his family and friends in the United States internment camps during World War II and Hiroshima’s atomic bombing. He survived the trauma of those two significant events and endured homelessness on the streets of New York City by creating art.

This exhibition presents 30 mixed-media works made by that Mirikitani made before his death at the age of ninety-two. His work is a poignant exploration of the lasting impacts of war and discrimination, and the healing power of creativity.

Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani was organized by The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Seattle, Washington, guest-curated by Roger Shimomura and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation.

Exhibits are free with paid admission to the museum and gardens.

For information about exhibition-related programming, including Personal History, Ethnicity and Advocacy: A Talk by Wendy Maruyama (Nov. 12), a documentary film screening series of The Cats of Mirikitani (Oct. 21, Nov. 18, Dec.16 and Jan. 20) and a film screening and discussion of Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray (Jan. 22), visit

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens has been a center for Japanese arts and culture in South Florida since its opening in 1977. Morikami invites guests to discover South Florida’s heritage and its connection with Japan, and explore a series of six diverse gardens inspired by a different historical period and style of Japanese gardening. Experience traditional and contemporary Japanese culture through world-class exhibits, varied educational programs and seasonal events, world-class bonsai display, Pan-Asian cuisine and a distinctive Museum Store.