BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) will present a free online conversation between artist Alison Moritsugu, artist Erin Shigaki, and curator Sarah Freeman on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m.
Moritsugu, Shigaki, and Freeman will discuss the exhibit “Moons and Internment Stones,” on view at BMAC through February 12. The event is presented in partnership with Densho, a nonprofit organization committed to documenting the oral histories of Japanese Americans incarcerated in World War II.
In “Moons and Internment Stones,” Moritsugu pairs watercolor paintings of rocks gathered by her grandfather while he was imprisoned at the Santa Fe Internment Camp during World War II with oil paintings of the moon.
The latter, the artist explained, are based on “sketches and color notes taken at random times in my life when the moon has evoked a poignant beauty, inspired curiosity, or provided solace.”
“As painters, we know the importance of the sensory and visual world,” Moritsugu writes in a statement accompanying the exhibition. “Each subject we choose to paint, each color and material we select to work with, each visual decision we make gives insight into who we are. In a similar way, each stone my grandfather selected and then carefully packed and carried back home to Hawaii is a reflection of who he was.”
Moritsugu was born and raised in Hawaii and now lives in Beacon, New York. Her work has been exhibited in solo shows at the Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center, the Lux Art Institute, Littlejohn Contemporary, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
She has received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in painting and has participated in residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Yaddo, MacDowell, and the (1)Sharpe -Walentas Studio Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington University and a master’s from the School of Visual Arts.
Shigaki is a yonsei (fourth-generation) Japanese American who creates art that is community-based and focused on BIPOC experiences, such as those of members of her community incarcerated during World War II.
The artist describes on her website she seeks to understand intergenerational trauma and to explore the emergence of beauty and intimacy despite unspeakably harsh circumstances. She believes that wielding art and activism to tell these stories can educate, redress, and incrementally heal.
Shigaki has received grants and commissions from numerous institutions, including Densho, the Wing Luke Museum, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Grant. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University.
The event will take place via Zoom and Facebook Live. Register at brattleboromuseum.org or 802-257-0124, ext. 101.