January 12, 2022

In recognition of the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, Densho is launching a new community art initiative: the Memory Net Remembrance Project. In collaboration with Densho resident artist Lauren Iida, we invite submissions of “memory objects” that symbolize hope, strength, and/or resistance for you or your ancestors during WWII Japanese American incarceration. Lauren will select from these objects to incorporate into a 30-foot-long cut paper net to be hung as a semi-permanent installation in Densho’s community room. This project lives at the intersection of Densho’s shared commitment to art, archives, and activism, and we hope it prompts reflection and dialogue as we approach this upcoming milestone. Please join us in this powerful act of remembrance! 

The Memory Net will be unveiled on February 19th at 3pm PST – stay tuned for details! 

Submission Details 

We are looking for items that remind you of your family’s WWII incarceration story: What affirmed their Japanese American identity in the camps? What gave them hope or strength in the face of it? What symbolized their resistance or refusal? 

A sketch of a pair of reading glasses next to a paper cut out of the glasses in a memory net. A written description says, "Reading glasses: Pursuing education and holding oneself to a higher moral standard in the face of oppression."
An example of an object description and its final form in a previous memory net. Courtesy of Lauren Iida.

The actual dimensions of the items should be no smaller than a pair of reading glasses and no larger than a beach ball. Please include 3-5 sentences about why you chose this item and the names of any loved ones you would like to honor. Lauren Iida will select from the submissions to render cut paper, watercolor objects that will be included in the memory net. Not all submissions will be included in the memory net, but they will all be printed and included in an album which will accompany the art installation and added to the Densho Digital Repository

Submissions must be received via online form by February 1, 2022 in order to be considered for inclusion in the memory net. Objects submitted after that deadline will only be included in the community album and the Densho Digital Repository. 

Artist Statement

Lauren Iida holding up a memory net paper cut out.
Artist Lauren Iida with an earlier Memory Net installation. Photo by Cameron Nagashima, courtesy of Lauren Iida.

The Memory Net “dredges up memories” which are expressed as symbolic objects “trapped” in the cut paper net. We can revisit these memories, then let them sink back down to the undefined space where memories exist. These could be memories of a place, memories of individuals or collective memories of a community. We don’t necessarily live everyday with our memories, good or bad, but the Memory Net project offers a way for us to temporarily revive and honor the memories which will always exist on some unseen plane of existence. The Memory Net Remembrance Project is part of an ongoing hand-cut paper installation series meant to create conversations surrounding topics such as homelessness, cultural identity, memory, and loss. Read more about Lauren Iida and her Memory Net projects in this Discover Nikkei article or on her website.