Masumi Hayashi

(Gila River, Arizona, 1945 - 2006, Cleveland, Ohio)

Heart Mountain Relocation Camp, Interior


Panoramic collage of chromogenic prints

32 3/4 x 44 in. (83.3 x 111.8 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of the estate of Joan E. Baker


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A highly innovative photographer, Hayashi’s panoramic photo collages subvert the tradition of the panoramic photograph, which was historically used to document tourist attractions and dramatic landscapes. Hayashi’s collages transcend the instantaneity of photography. They fragment space by combining up to 100 still photos into a single, unified image. Through technique and subject matter, she suggests that perspective is relative: our understanding of a place depends literally and figuratively on point of view. This work represents The Internment Camp series, which documents the desolate places where West Coast Japanese Americans and Canadians were unjustly imprisoned during World War II. Visiting the camps meant re-visiting her own history: Hayashi was born at the Gila River camp. Among the artist’s most personal work, this series offered a literal and spiritual pilgrimage in which she explored long-suppressed pain and spiritual healing.