Sept. 20, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Gallery 51 announces “Freedom from Fear/Yellow Bowl Project,” a solo exhibition by Setsuko Winchester, will open on Thursday, Sept. 28. This exhibition at MCLA Gallery 51 marks the first show of the entire series of photographs created for the project, which documents site-based installations of 120 yellow tea bowls made by Winchester to represent the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese-Americans to 10 internment camps in the American West during World War II.
The public is invited to attend a free reception from 5 to 8 p.m. in the 51 Main St. gallery on Thursday, Sept. 28, to celebrate the opening of the “Yellow Bowl Project,” which also was designed to bring attention to a history of Asian and Asian-American racism in the United States.
For the project, Winchester created the 120 yellow tea bowls, which she then photographed at each of the internment camp sites.
Winchester explained the concept behind her creation of the series as yellow, to represent the “Yellow Peril,” as Asians were euphemistically referred to at the time, and tea bowls, to represent man’s humanity.
“The intent of this project is to inform and educate. The hope is to diffuse fear, not spread it,” Winchester said.
Born in New York City, N.Y., to Japanese immigrant parents, Winchester has worked as a journalist, editor and producer at National Public Radio (NPR) on shows like “Morning Edition” and “Talk of the Nation,” before she moved to Western Massachusetts in 2006 to pursue a life-long interest in ceramics and visual arts.
Winchester’s study of the history associated with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “1942 Executive Order 9066” to create 10 concentration camps for the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast served as the inspiration for her project.
Using Winchester’s concept as a starting point, MCLA Gallery 51 partnered with several departments at the College to organize a series of interdisicplinary explorations inspired by her project.
According to Dr. Cynthia F. Brown, vice president of academic affairs, “This project provides a rich context for discussion of a number of historical, social and policy issues that are as relevant today as they were when the internments took place in the 1940s. This is a unique and stimulating opportunity for not only MCLA students, but also the wider community, to engage with Ms. Winchester’s artistic vision as mediated by her professional and personal experiences.”
In addition to the opening reception, MCLA Gallery 51 will host an artist talk on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 5 p.m. On Thursday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m., MCLA faculty and students will share selections from an interdisciplinary collection of essays to be published in association with the exhibition.
The public also is invited to join a roundtable discussion on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. in Murdock Hall, in the Sammer Dennis Room (218), which will explore the themes of the exhibition, and focus on the parallels between the executive order signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1942 and recent immigration orders signed by President Donald Trump.
Winchester also will visit MCLA’s classrooms and work with students throughout the exhibition for a deeper exploration into the subject matter and themes of her project. These public- and student-focused activities are presented with support from the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC), and MCLA offices of Academic Affairs, English/Communications, Fine and Performing Arts - Arts Management, History/Political Science and Public Policy.
MCLA Gallery 51 is a program of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, and exhibits contemporary work to the greater Berkshire community from a wide range of emerging to mid-career artists. The Gallery hosts exhibitions year-round, along with countless events and happenings. Staffed mostly by student workers, MCLA Gallery 51 provides students with hand-ons experiences in the day-to-day operations of the Gallery. More information on the project can be found at
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.
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