DEDICATION CEREMONY EVENT DETAILS:
- DATE: Tuesday, September 13 at 11am
- VENUE: Bainbridge Island Japanese Exclusion Memorial
- ATTENDEES: Anna Brones and Luc Revel, artists responsible for the work; State Senator Christine Rolfes whose efforts led to a State Capital Facilities grant
- ROLL OUT: Artwork part of development of Memorial site with the final phase, construction of a Visitor Center, scheduled for completing 2024 or 2025
On March 30, 1942, 276 Japanese American Bainbridge Island residents were forced to leave the island due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The order included approximately 120,000 other Japanese Americans throughout the country, who were all forced into wartime concentration camps. It was a dark moment for both our country and our island. Here on Bainbridge, many residents stood in opposition to the orders and throughout the incarceration of their neighbors and friends, they did what they could to preserve their land, businesses and belongings until the island’s Japanese community could return home.
To honor, and to never forget the injustice, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial was built and opened to the public on July 30, 2011.
The outdoor exhibit was designed by local architect Johnpaul Jones, an American Indian and principal of Jones and Jones Architects. Local artist Steve Gardner created the friezes you see today on the winding walls, which depict scenes of Japanese American islanders being steered onto ferries at the (historic) Eagledale ferry dock, just steps from the Memorial.
Over the past year or so, another piece of the Memorial has been under construction; the Exclusion Departure Deck, which sits in the same spot as the Eagledale ferry dock. As Clarence Moriwaki, Bainbridge Island City councilman and past president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community (BIJAC) and the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association (BIJAEM) explained, the Departure Deck design has always been part of the original Memorial plans, but the current design has been in the making for more than a decade.
In addition to the deck itself, interpretive iron artwork was designed by artists Anna Brones and Luc Revel. The “sculptures” depict soldiers holding their guns upward, forming an “entrance” to the dock, the woman and child, with “tags” cut out of the figures, representing the numbered identification tags assigned to each Japanese American, and the glass wall at the end of the dock with footsteps of passengers (adult and children) along with the soldiers that escorted them, walking into the unknown.
“It was really important for us to create a concept that invoked an emotional gravity. Art has an amazing capacity to be a catalyst for empathy, and while we can’t fully understand what it would have been like to have walked down the dock that day, we can use artwork to help put the visitor into a place where they are challenged to encounter and consider some of the same emotions,” Anna and Luc explained… article continued at this link.