April 4, 2003
CONTACT: Becky Zelinski, 661/664-2138, bzelinski@csub.edu
or Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu


"Images of Manzanar: The Japanese American Internment 1942-45," a photographic exhibit by M. L. Heivly is set to open at the California State University, Bakersfield Todd Madigan Gallery, April 8. It will run through April 24. An artist's reception will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on April 15 and will be followed by a seminar about Manzanar at the CSUB Doré Theatre from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

The photographic essay documents the remains of the forgotten city and emphasizes the harsh landscape and unyielding lifestyle that was imposed on the quasi-inmates who lived there. According to CSUB philosophy of art professor, Sondra Bacharach, Heivly's work builds on images of the past but undermines the false sense of happiness conveyed in documentaries produced by the U.S. government.

"Heivly's work reveals the Japanese Americans' experience in a humanizing yet touching manner that highlights the personal pride and dignity with which the internees worked, in spite of the difficult and oppressive conditions they endured," Bacharach said.

Heivly said his interest in Manzanar arose from his own life experiences.

"I was in Japan after the Second World War in the early 1950's and grew up with this issue around me," Heivly said. "From this awareness of their culture and the kindness and gentleness of the Japanese people, it seemed outrageous to me that our constitution was suspended and that we put our own people in jail without charging them with a crime."

Heivly is an art professor at CSUB. After receiving his master's degree in fine arts from the University of Colorado in 1972, Heivly has had many solo exhibitions including the Wenger-Casat Gallery in La Jolla, the New Mexico State University Museum, Southwestern College in Chula Vista, and the Burchfield Gallery at The State University College at Buffalo, NY.

He has taught at San Diego State University; The Santa Reparata Graphic Center in Florence, Italy; The California State Summer School for the Arts; CSU Summer Arts; and most recently as an artist in residence at The National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland. In 1984, Heivly was named a CSU Distinguished Artist and is currently an artist/fellow of Project InterCommunication Center in Tokyo, Japan.

The seminar following the artist's reception will feature presentations by Sue Kunitomi Embry, an internee at the Manzanar Relocation Center, founding chairperson of the Manzanar Committee and editor of "The Manzanar;" Arthur Hansen, founding director of the Japanese-American Oral History Project, history professor at Cal State Fullerton, and senior historian at the Japanese-American National Museum in Los Angeles; and Frank Hays, superintendent of the Manzanar Historic Site. The seminar will be moderated by Edwin Sasaki, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of Undergraduate Studies at CSUB and an internee at the Tule Lake Relocation Center.

The Todd Madigan Gallery is located at CSUB, 9001 Stockdale Hwy., Bakersfield, Calif. Gallery hours for Spring 2003 are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Parking is $1.50. For more information, call (661) 664-2238.