Citizen 13660: The Art of Miné Okubo

October 8, 2015–February 21, 2016

About the Exhibition

Citizen 13660: The Art of Miné Okubo presented a selection of archival material and rare original artwork by California-born artist Miné Okubo (1912–2001), who was among the thousands of Japanese American citizens forced to leave their homes and businesses for incarceration camps during World War II. In an effort to document the injustices of the camps, Okubo created nearly 200 pen and ink drawings capturing her everyday life and struggles. These vivid, dramatic drawings were subsequently published as the graphic novel Citizen 13660 (1946), the first illustrated memoir chronicling the camp experience. This exhibition explored this exceptional book and brought Okubo’s personal and historical narrative to life. 

Following President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066—issued in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941—Okubo and her family first entered the Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, California, and then the Topaz Camp in Delta, Utah. Despite her identity being reduced to a number—13660 was the government-issued number assigned to the Okubo family—she found ways to account for this period in her life through poignant and insightful images and commentary still relevant today.

Citizen 13660: The Art of Miné Okubo was presented at the Skirball in association with the Japanese American National Museum.

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