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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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Wendy Maruyama created the "Tag Project" to explore Japansese American internment.

Through Art, Maruyama Confronts a Family Indignity

Wendy Maruyama's Tag Project personalizes the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

Artist and professor Wendy Maruyama, the anchor of San Diego State’s furniture and woodworking degree program, spoke about her art and her ancestry at most recent TEDxSan Diego.

The SDSU alumna traced her journey from rebellious youth to furniture maker to installation artist, concluding with the story of her "Tag Project."

This installation, formally titled “Executive Order 9066,” is comprised of paper tags similar to those worn by the approximately 120,000 Japanese American men, woman and children sent to internment camps in the U.S. during World War II.

Maruyama painstakingly recreated the tags with the help of community groups and schools throughout the country. Then she attached them to form 10-foot-high suspended works of art.

The "Tag Project" is relevant, not only to the Japanese American internment, but also to the treatment of Muslim Americans after 9-11, Maruyama said.

“It taught me as an artist to be able to rethink my process (and to ask) how can I use my art to do more than just be pretty.”

To view the "Tag Project," visit Maruyama's website.