a painting of an interment camp wtih rows of wood shacks leading into a gray desert there is a red, stormy sky above

Miki Hayakawa, Hisako Hibi, and Miné Okubo were three of the most active and visible female artists of Japanese descent of the pre-World War II generations. Their critically acclaimed careers spanned eight decades and four US states, yet the full extent of their work has been understudied in 20th-century American art history. Pictures of Belonging is an unprecedented (re)introduction that features more than 100 artworks by these trailblazers, with many on public display for the first time. By tracing their prewar, wartime, and postwar artistic production, Pictures of Belonging illuminates an expanded view of the “American experience” by women who used artmaking to “take up space,” to make their presence and existence visible, and to assert that they belonged.

painted self portraits of trehh women artists place side by side in one file
Images from left to right: Hisako Hibi, Study for a Self-Portrait, ca. 1944. Japanese American National Museum 99.63.1, Miki Hayakawa, Untitled (Woman with Blue Hair), ca. 1930s. Oil on canvas, 18 x 19.25 in. Collection of Richard Sakai, and Miné Okubo, Portrait Study, ca. 1937. Tempera on panel, 23.5 x 19.5 in. SAAM

Hibi and Okubo were unjustly imprisoned at Topaz near Delta, Utah, from 1942 until 1944/45. Their depictions of life in Utah during this time add special significance to this exhibition at the UMFA, the first venue to host Pictures of Belonging on its national tour.

For more information about and ticketing for the Pictures of Belonging Preview Party, see here.

The traveling version of Pictures of Belonging is curated by Dr. ShiPu Wang and is organized by the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California. This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art and is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Terra Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts Logos in Black


Bank of America


George S. and Dolores Dorè Eccles Foundation
Stephanie and Tim Harpst


The Tozer Endowment for Special Exhibitions 
The Dumke Endowment for Special Exhibitions

Image: Hisako Hibi, Eastern Sky 750 A.M., Feb. 25, 1945. Japanese American National Museum 96.601.47