Each month (usually the first Wednesday), the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies hosts “Legacies & Lunch”. This month the program features Frank Sata discussing Unlikely Foundation: How WWII Internment in Arkansas Shaped a Family’s Life in Art and Architecture.
Mr. Sata’s appearance is also presented in partnership with the Clinton School of Public Service’s speaker series.
As a young boy, Frank Sata was one of thousands of Japanese Americans who spent time in Arkansas during World War II, imprisoned by their own country merely because of their ancestry. He was eight years old when his family was shipped from their home in California to Jerome, where one of two Arkansas internment camps for Japanese Americans was built by the War Relocation Authority. Mr. Sata’s father, J.T. Sata, was an accomplished artist who documented his family’s time in camps in Arkansas and Arizona in a series of remarkable oil paintings and charcoal drawings. Much of that art is currently on display in Concordia Hall of Butler Center Galleries, as part of Drawn In: New Art from WWII Camps at Rohwer and Jerome, and will remain in the Butler Center’s collection following the closing of the exhibition on August 23, 2014.
Mr. Sata, who lives in Pasadena, California, went on to become an architect. His own work was influenced by his experience of the World War II camps, his father’s art and photography, and famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s fascination with Asian architecture. He will discuss the internment experience, his father’s art, and the ways his work as an architect reflects his memories of his years in Arkansas.
Despite the sadness embedded in the injustice of the World War II camps, Mr. Sata says, “I have since developed a sense of comfort and place for Arkansas.” He says, “Sometimes words do not come easily for me to describe that special meaning, but he is an eloquent interpreter of the power of a harsh experience visited upon a country’s citizens by wartime frenzy and the healing power of creativity to overcome anger and bitterness.
Legacies & Lunch is sponsored in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. Bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. For more information, visit www.butlercenter.org.