Joe Nakanishi: Perspective

At just 19 years old, Joe Nakanishi’s young life was interrupted when he was incarcerated during World War II because of his Japanese ancestry. Trapped inside a camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming, Nakanishi killed time by sketching scenes of life around him. The camp’s information officer, Vaughn “Bonnie” Mechau, encouraged Nakanishi’s talent and promised to purchase his art supplies if he kept drawing. After his release from Heart Mountain, Nakanishi enjoyed a long and celebrated career as an artist and designer. Decades later, he would return to Heart Mountain, through his drawings and his memory, and create the series of paintings that make up this exhibit.