The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) announced the launch of the Museum’s Google Arts & Culture web page, which features the Miné Okubo Collection at JANM, an online exhibition of the same name, and the video, UNBOXED: Miné Okubo’s Masterpiece: The Art of Citizen 13660, from JANM’s UNBOXED series. The online exhibition is included in Google Arts & Culture’s Asian Pacific American Cultures hub as part of Google’s celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
The Miné Okubo Collection features 210 drawings and paintings created by Okubo when she was incarcerated in California and Utah during World War II and after the war in New York. Artwork from Okubo’s illustrated memoir, Citizen 13660, is also a part of the collection and has long been among the most highly accessed items in the Museum's permanent collection. Yet the collections and curatorial staff at JANM knew that there was more in the Okubo collection that would be of interest to digital stakeholders.
“We are proud to be partnering with Google Arts and Culture to launch this important collection on their new platform. It will exponentially expand access for people everywhere. As a custodian of Miné Okubo’s collection, we could not be more pleased that a wider audience will now be able to experience the richness of her work and, at the same time, learn about the Japanese American experience and how it continues to be deeply relevant today,” said Ann Burroughs, President and CEO.
The Miné Okubo Collection on Google Arts & Culture stems from the JANM exhibition, Miné Okubo’s Masterpiece: The Art of Citizen 13660, which debuted at the Museum in 2021. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Citizen 13660, the exhibition included 28 original drawings and captions from the book and art that inspired the book’s creation. First published in 1946, Citizen 13660 was the first book-length account on the U.S. concentration camps from the perspective of a former incarceree.
“Research for the exhibition, Miné Okubo's Masterpiece: the Art of Citizen 13660, provided the impetus to digitize and share more of the collection, which includes a large representation of Okubo's artwork that she created into the 1990s. Okubo's postwar work is very different in style and subject matter from the Citizen 13660 artwork, which shows Okubo's great range as an artist and the changing influences that shaped her artistic focus in the postwar years. Through this partnership with Google Arts & Culture, students, art aficionados, and scholars alike will be able to take a closer look at Okubo's many masterpieces,” said Kristen Hayashi, PhD, director of Collections Management and Access and curator at JANM.