Senninbari (千人針 thousand-person-stitches) 

Working Title: Executive Order 9066

 

Executive order 9066 was a presidential order issued by Franklin D Roosevelt in the midst of WWII, few months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This order authorized the Secretary of War to remove 120,000 Japanese descendants (mostly from the west coast) into 10 relocation centers in remote areas around the country.

 

This forced relocation included people of Japanese ancestry; anyone who had at least 1/16th of Japanese blood were incarcerated.

60% of these people incarcerated were U.S. citizens of Japanese descent.

 

This on-going project is inspired by this event.

 

Red “French-knots” on white captures the tradition of “senninbari” which was a community-based project by the women of Japan to protect the men going off to war. Just like “senninbari” this piece about a community coming together to represent hope and to create a protective amulet for the future of the people so that we can truly say "Never Again."

 

Every strip of fabric includes a little over 1000 knots.

Do you know 1000 people?

Imagine yourself being one of those red dots and imagine the other dots being all the people that you know and love.

Now imagine 210 strips of fabric.

That’s how many were forcibly put into concentration camps.

Their only crime was the root of their ancestry.

 

I don't know 210,000 people. I don’t know if I know 1,000 people.

But I want us all to see and experience what that number looks like in a physical form.

Maybe if we actually see the atrocities in physical form rather than abstracted numbers, we will all work harder to be more kind to each other.

To respect and try to understand each other more.

***Please contact me if you or your organization is interested in participating in this on-going project (2016-). The goal is to make 210,000 knots and so far as a community we have created 25,000. ***

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© 2019 by SAYAKA SUZUKI 

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