153C-19617, painting and quilt (from the series Camp Home), 2011. Chromogenic print. 18 ¾ x 16 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Wauwatosa, WI

Overview

Kevin Miyazaki uses place and memory as starting points to explore family history and personal identity. In the series Camp Home he documents the reuse of World War II-era Japanese internment camp buildings. Following the War’s end, the Bureau of Reclamation decommissioned these camps, offering the facilities and surrounding land to returning veterans. The barracks that housed incarcerate Japanese-Americans were then repurposed for homesteading veterans, who refashioned the structures into barns and houses.

Since 2007, Miyazaki has been photographing the remaining homes in Tule Lake (Northern California) and Heart Mountain (Northwest Wyoming), the former camp sites where his father and grandparents were detained in the 1940s. Miyazaki finds the act of searching for the buildings, approaching their current owners, and sharing family stories to be important aspects of his photographic process. In the quiet photographs that result, the artist allows each location to quietly reveal its own domestic history. With no hint of their dark past, Miyazaki’s everyday scenes are nevertheless poignant meditations on reclaiming spaces of trauma.

Biography

Kevin Miyazaki was born and raised in Milwaukee where he currently teaches at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. In 1990, he received his BA in Graphic Design from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Miyazaki works as a freelance photographer for clients such as Travel + Leisure, Cooking Light and Martha Stewart Living. His solo and group projects have been exhibited across the country, including a solo exhibition at the Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee and the upcoming exhibitions of Camp Home at the Watrous Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin and Stockton College in New Jersey. A group exhibition, Repercussions: Tides & Time, traveled to three states.