PROXIIMA
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WHEN THE EMPEROR WAS DIVINE

WHEN THE EMPEROR WAS DIVINE [Uris Library @ Ithaca, NY]

Fall 2013 | Lead Exhibition Designer

When The Emperor Was Divine Exhibition Website | Uris Library

A novel by Julie Otsuka, When The Emperor Was Divine is the 2013 New Student Reading Project. Divided into five chapters and narrated only through the viewpoint of a single unnamed family, When The Emperor Was Divine explores the lives ofJapanese-Americans at a War Internment Camp as experienced through the family's four members: the woman, the girl, the boy and the father. Punctuated with evocative imagery and sharp prose, Otsuka recreates a veritable outline of the life many Japanese-Americans experienced during the fear and paranoia-riddled, post-Pearl-Harbor-attack era that led to their unforgiving internment. Divided like the narrative structure of the novel, When The Emperor Was Divine: An Exhibition, explores—with detail—related imagery and cartographic representations that supplement the narrations in the book. A case for each of the family members thus explores various facets of their life leading to, during, and after internment. Two additional cases were added to further explore the sentiments of division and estrangement, and feelings of reconciliation, during and after the interment experience, respectively. The exhibition aims to stimulate further interest on the subject matter, and further illuminate an oft-ignored chapter of American history. Furthermore, the installation Siege of Cranes was conceptualized and created as an introductory gesture for the exhibition.