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Issue Feature
A streetscape on a sunny day. The sidewalk is busy. Most of the street signs and shop signs have kanji on them.
Resident of Little Tokyo walks on First Street in his neighborhood in L.A.

Practice The Arts

The Writing on the Wall: Art as Space for Community Voice

Dr. Dipti Desai examines artist Sheila de Bretteville’s public installation in LA’s Little Tokyo, Omoide no Shotokyo . Made as a participatory community art piece, Desai discusses how de Bretteville invites questions about the ethical issues in artworks that center on the history and experiences of a community—specifically a community subject to anti-immigrant sentiment during World War II.

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2 responses to “The Writing on the Wall”

  1. Neil Hopkins says:

    Fascinating piece – and it really underlines the need for artists to build up that relationship and trust with their subjects.
    Installation specific pieces like this really weave into the narrative of place when well used, and this example looks like a sensitive, appropriate way to address a difficult time in a shared history.

  2. Peeps Magazine says:

    Public art is an ongoing subject of interest for Peeps, on the whole, and I sincerely wish this kind of project was in place in more cities in the world. It is certainly better than 5 million dollar chandelier under an expressway in a city that is grappling with a shortage in affordable housing. Think what an artist like de Brettiville could have done with 5 million.

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