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October 09, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE VIEW FROM WITHIN: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps 1942-1945 by Karen M. Higa (University of Washington Press: $24.95; 100 pp., illustrated). The catalogue of an exhibit held in the Wight Gallery at UCLA in 1992 to mark the 50th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, "View" reveals the efforts of interned artists to depict life in the camps. Tokio Ueyama's "The Evacuee" (1942) looks like an ordinary portrait of a woman idly crocheting, but the way in which she sits, surrounded by souvenirs of her lost home, creates an unsettling tension. In a brief memoir of the years she spent interned at Poston, Ariz., playwright Wakako Yamauchi reflects, "Well, they say all life is terminal. But each of us wants to leave a stone that says, 'I have been here.' An artist suspends a moment of his inner life--a fleeting moment of passion and longing in life and puts it on canvas for us."

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