~ A website featuring the work of Dawn Nakashima ~

All work copyright © Dawn Nakashima 2015

 

Cages & Enclosures

(click on images for larger view)

Welded bar cage

Untitled, 1996 (welded cage)
Mixed media
11" x 11" x 11"

$375

 

 

Untitled, 1996 (roped)
Mixed media
$250

 

 

Barbed Wire cage

Untitled, 1996 (barbed wire cube)
Mixed media
11" x 11" x 11"

$350

 

 

Tar Paper cageTar Paper cages, 3 in a row

Untitled, 1996 (tar paper - set of three)
Mixed media
each unit 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 8 1/2"
overall 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 30"
$375

 

 

Glass jar cage

Untitled, 1996 (glass jar)
Mixed media
7" x 7" x 8"

$300

 

 

Stacked Bar cage, 2nd view

Untitled, 1996 (stacked bars)
Mixed media
12" x 12" x 10"

$375

 

 

Barbed wire coiled cage

Untitled, 1996 (barbed wire spiral)
Mixed media
8" x 8" x 12"

SOLD

 

 

Wire frame cage

Untitled, 1996 (cage with handle)
Mixed media
8 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 8 1/2"

$350

 

 

Rough metal cageRough metal cage

Untitled, 1996 (rough metal cage)
Mixed media
10" x 10" x 10"

$375

 

 

Cardboard box cage

Untitled, 1996 (cardboard cage)
Mixed media
8 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 8 1/2"

$250

 

 

Group of cages

Cages shown together

 

 

American, of Japanese Descent American, of Japanese Decent - cages in background

American, of Japanese descent, 1996
Mixed media
16" x 16" x 14"
In the permanent collection of the Oakland Museum

 

 

What was the inspiration for the Cages & Enclosures Series?

It had always been in the back of my mind to do a piece about my parents' experience of being relocated to Concentration Camps during World War II. As American citizens of Japanese ancestry my parents were forced from their homes in Livingston, CA (Dad) and Fresno, CA (Mom) and ordered by the United States government to Concentration Camps away from the West Coast. (Dad to Granada, CO and Mom to Jerome, AR) The tricky part about doing a piece like this was how to approach it. This was not my experience and I wanted to come about it in an honest way. My answer came when I was visiting my folks over the holidays in 1995. They were talking casually about their camp experiences to my husband Jonathan when it hit me - "Oh my God! These people are truly NOT bitter about their experience!" I had always been trying to mine some sort of anger or resentment from them and it was just not there. So my "internment" piece became a piece about overcoming adversity - how one deals with the "cards they've been dealt" - whether they move on with their lives or whether they are forever "caged" in the unfortunate circumstances of their past.The rice bowls held within the cages represent the individual. I chose the rice bowls because when people immigrate to other countries their ethnic food tends to be the last thing to go in terms of assimilating into another culture. In some cases the bowls can be easily removed from their enclosures. In others it's impossible. There are varying degrees of visual and implied psychological harshness and severity. The tags that are attached to the cages mirror the ones that were attached to the internees and their belongings when they were in transit to the camps and also serve as price tags begging the question, "What price for freedom?"

In addition to the Cages & Enclosures series I created a companion piece called American, of Japanese Descent. It's along the same lines as the Cages & Enclosures series but addresses the unwavering patriotism of many of the Japanese Americans of my parents' generation.