An exhibit featuring artwork made by Japanese Americans while imprisoned in Desha County internment camps during World War II is now on display in the Underground Gallery on the Central Arkansas Library System main campus in downtown Little Rock.

Many of the pieces were created by children and adults in classes taught by Mabel Rose Jamison “Jamie” Vogel, a white woman who preserved a remarkable amount of art and artifacts by her incarcerated students. Her collection was eventually donated to the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies.


Though there are some interesting renderings of the grounds at Rohwer and Jerome where the prisoners lived and a handful of sculptures, the most striking part of the exhibit is the 30 or so portraits, many of which are fairly simple drawings done with pencil and paper. Because cameras were typically forbidden in the camps, portraits became a substitute method of documenting memories of friends and family. The pieces range in their sophistication, but they’re an intimate window into how a group of actively oppressed people managed to still see themselves humanely.

The exhibit is up until Saturday, June 24.


Invest in the future of great journalism in Arkansas

Join the ranks of the 63,000 Facebook followers, 58,000 Twitter followers, 35,000 Arkansas blog followers, and 70,000 daily email blasts who know that the Arkansas Times is the go-to source for tough, determined, and feisty journalism that holds the powerful accountable. For 48 years, our progressive, alternative newspaper in Little Rock has been on the front lines of the fight for truth, and with your support, we can do even more. By subscribing or donating to the Arkansas Times, you’ll not only have access to all of our articles, but you’ll also be helping us hire more writers and expand our coverage. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make a difference with your subscription or donation to the Arkansas Times today.

Previous article
A congressional staffer from Pine Bluff’s drug-fueled protest gets a long look in new book

Next article
Thursday open line