FROM THE COLLECTION // Gleaning Hope from One Artist’s Depiction of an Everyday Activity

2012.18.2.1 – Illustration of Figures Peeling Potatoes at Angler Prisoner of War Camp; Angler, ON.

FROM THE COLLECTION aims to introduce readers to the inventories of local art galleries, museums and other cultural institutions, not via official exhibition notes but by way of the people that help manage and maintain the collections themselves.

“Judging by the figures’ joyless body language and their sparse set-up, Sando seems to suggest that peeling potatoes is dull and demeaning work – but it might also bring a small sense of normalcy and community to this unnatural and unjust setting…”

In this edition of From the Collection, we hear from Mandy Choie, Collections Assistant at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, who shares her interpretation of an illustrated relic of Vancouver’s past…

“Thomas Sando (Tamio Kuwabara) and his brother Shigeru Kuwabara were illegally incarcerated and detained without charge or trial at Angler POW camp, a Prisoner of War camp for Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. I’m intrigued by how Sando chose to depict a fairly mundane scene within this extremely traumatic environment. I particularly like the figure on the left, who has his leg casually raised and is pausing to smoke a cigarette. Judging by the figures’ joyless body language and their sparse set-up, Sando seems to suggest that peeling potatoes is dull and demeaning work – but it might also bring a small sense of normalcy and community to this unnatural and unjust setting, which may be why Sando decided to illustrate it.”


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