Brenda and Mark 2.pngRiverside Love Story, an Artist-in-Residence Project

Renowned storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki and Emmy Award-winning composer Mark Izu will weave Asian-American history, family legend, and humor together in a vibrant celebration of our community.

Inspired by Wendy Maruyama: E.O. 9066, Brenda and Mark will place their focus on the interracial connections (including love stories) around the time of the incarceration and the impact on their descendants today. Because of a long-shared history, they will specifically reach out to the Chicano/Mexicano and Japanese-American communities in Riverside.

The project still in development, Brenda writes:

Distilling our conversations, researching Wendy's work, and cognizant of the current demographics of Riverside, the energy building around The Cheech Marin Center, and the need to bring attention to the Hard House renovation efforts and the immigration issues stressing the Latino community, we thought long and hard about what kind of community engagement we could do around the Japanese incarceration that would add to the story.

Our work, while based in the Japanese/Chinese/Asian-American experience, is intended to be culturally specific, but universally empowering. Unfortunately, the racial bigotry so devastating to our ancestors is repeating itself to both new immigrants and to second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation Latinos, Muslims, Asians, and others. As we begin to unwrap our histories in California, we find not merely commonalities of subjugation, but also that we banded together and provided mutual support for each other. While Japanese-Americans were incarcerated, those who remained tended the fields and stored our treasured possessions. And when we returned, we joined together on athletic fields in the matrimony. We fought together in the military and fought anti-miscegenation laws. Tamales on New Year's Eve became just as important as ozoni on New Year's morning.

Join us for:

  • Story-gathering workshops: March 2 - 4, 2018, Time/Location TBA | Story-circle workshops with community members to mine stories of interracial connections and love stories, then and now.
  • The Riverside Love Story: March 10 & 11, 2018, Time TBA | This project will culminate in a celebratory experience of stories mined during the residency, celebrating hope in hard times and pointing out everyday heroes and allies in unlikely places.

Exhibit-related programming for Wendy Maruyama: E.O. 9066 was made possible with support from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program at the California State Library:

CA State Library.jpg