[ISEA95] Artist Statement: Michi Itami — Akira’s Life: The Irony of Being American

Artist Statement


This multimedia piece is about my father’s personal odyssey. Born in America, raised in Japan, he returned to America when he was nineteen. When the war began, we were all put in Manzanar, a “relocation camp”. A year later they asked internees if they would like to volunteer for the U.S. Army. They would not recognize your citizenship rights, but they would let you volunteer to serve the same country who had deprived you of those rights. Due to my father’s work for the U.S. Army’s Intelligence Unit, they awarded him the Legion of Merit, the highest non-combat medal in the service. He was then made Head of the Interpreters Unit for the Tokyo War Crimes Trials.

  • Michi Itami (USA) is an associate professor in the Art Department of the City College of New York, City University of New York. Itami received an Artist’s Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts (1995), the Cush Prize at the Twenty-Fourth Annual Works on Paper exhibition at the Southwest Texas State University Gallery, San Marcos (1994) and an Artist’s Grant in Printmaking from the National Endowment for the Arts (1981).