In Balancing Cultures series, I am working with layers of meaning, memory, and Executive Order 9066—which gave rise to the incarceration of 120,000 American citizens and legal residents of Japanese ancestry in 1942. Shocked by a discovery of old family photographs taken in the Jerome, Arkansas, WWII American concentration camp, I felt compelled to speak out in contrast to my parents’ silence on their imprisonment. Balancing Cultures began as a personal identity project and grew into an examination of the United States’ political and social injustices against its Japanese and all immigrant populations.
EO 9066 was a dark chapter in American history that injured its victims and successive generations in ways both seen and unseen. Trauma has no statute of limitations and silence is a powerful transmitter of intergenerational trauma. Today, we see renewed violence against Asian Americans. It will take restored feelings of humanity towards others to transform the racial landscape—and achieve what is most difficult for humans—change.
Jerry Takigawa is an independent photographer, designer, and writer. Exhibited internationally, he has been awarded numerous honors including the Imogen Cunningham Award, the Clarence John Laughlin Award, CENTER’s Curator’s Choice Award, the Rhonda Wilson Award, and Foto Forum’s Award for Photography. His work is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Brooklyn Museum, the Crocker art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, and the Monterey Museum of Art. He studied photography with Don Worth at San Francisco State University and received a degree in art with an emphasis in painting. Takigawa lives and works in Carmel Valley, California.