This series of work stems from my grandmother’s/ my baachan’s story, her journey, which in turn has become a part of my own. Four years after my grandmother’s death I found a box labeled ‘Baachan’s sewing patterns’ in the basement of my mother’s home. Inside lay over two hundred miniature paper articles of clothing; dresses, jackets, children’s jumpers and shirts, all of which my grandmother made as mock ups before beginning the actual clothing. The box also contained five books of detailed clothing patterns that she began working on during the summer of 1941 in a drafting class. Within the pages of these patterns are other pieces of paper full of Japanese names and measurements. The date on these pages is 1943, and all of the people mentioned would have been living with my grandmother in Slocan, the camp where my grandmother, along with hundreds of other Japanese Canadians, was interned during the Second World War.
I grew up listening to the stories of my grandparents, of their struggles throughout the war and after. I witnessed them wrestle with their past, trying to move forward, but always held back by their history. Thus, working in combination with my grandmother’s sewing patterns and my etchings, I have begun a series of print based works that explore my family’s stories and the experiences of other Japanese Canadians. I have focused on the ideas of assimilation and cultural integration and how different individuals found their own sense of belonging within the circumstances dealt to them.