What happens when photographs are lost and all that is left
are fading memories?
In the mid-1970s, Japanese Canadians began gathering memories,
stories, and archival materials to reconstitute their history.
The aim of this exhibition is to contribute to this effort
by recognizing the pioneer work of Japanese Canadian photographers,
and to raise questions regarding the value of photographs.
Among the eighty photographs chosen for this exhibition are
prints made from more than 800 dry glass negatives `found
in Cumberland, on Vancouver Island. They are from the studio
of Messrs. Hayashi, Kitamura and Matsubuchi (1913-1932), and
represent the residents of this coal mining town. In contrast,
the photographs taken by the studio of P.L. Okamura (1902-1937),
of New Westminster, are largely portraits of the towns
elite and of civic events, as Mr. Okamura held a respected
position in the community, as Professor of Drawing, at the
Oblats St. Louis College, since 1893. Son of a Japanese
nobility, he came to Canada with education from Japans
newly established Technical Fine Arts School, in Tokyo, which
hired Western masters to teach arts and science.
While these two studios drew their clientele from the community
in which they served, the seven studios, located in Vancouver,
served the Japanese immigrant communities, in Vancouver (Japan
Town), Steveston, and the Fraser Valley, and their photographs
document occupations, social events, and interest groups.
Noteworthy amongst the Vancouver photographers is Shuzo Fujiwara
(1910-1941), who studied with a famous Japanese professional
photographer, Hikoma Uyeno (1838-1904), in Nagasaki, before
emigrating. Mr. Fujiwara and Mr. Okamura, two early photographers
to Canada, educated in Japan, may be said to have influenced
the quality and style of the development of early Japanese
Canadian studio photography.
An exhibition catalogue will soon be available, and material
for a museum education resource kit to be used in BC schools'
social studies and arts curricula is also being developed.
JAPANESE CANADIAN PHOTOGRAPHY SYMPOSIUM
Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, from 1:00 3:20 p.m., University
Centre, Room A180
Admission is free.
Assimilation and exclusion, the role of Japanese Canadian
photographers in Canadian society, and the value of photographs
in reconstituting community stories are just some of the issues
being explored during an afternoon symposium at UVic, which
is open to the public.
1:00 pm Martin Segger, Director, Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery
Welcome and Introductions
1:10-1:40 Dr. Patricia Roy, Department of History, University
"Why They Came and What They Met: Early Japanese Immigrants
to British Columbia"
1:40-2:10 Grace Thomson, Curator, Shashin exhibit
"Japanese Canadian Studio Photography to 1942: the importance
of these historic collections"
2:20-2:50 Professor Imogene Lim, Malaspina College
Place Called Home: Women and Families in Cumberland"
2:50-3:20 Dr. Midge Ayukawa, Independent scholar
"The Japanese CanadiansThe First Half Century:
a brief history of the society depicted in the "Shashin"
3:30 Grace Thomson, exhibit curator, will provide a tour of