Art as Activism
Printmaker Lois Harada spoke about her art process, the development of her art practice in Providence, and her recent project, #RenameVictoryDay. Her work was on exhibit in the Krupp Library and also at the AS220 Aborn gallery in downtown Providence beginning April 4th to April 24th, 2021. #RenameVictoryDay concerns the history and commemoration of the American internment of Japanese citizens during WWII and the work is inspired by the incarceration of her paternal grandmother in Poston, Arizona during the war.
Harada explained the purpose behind this project in a letter to public officials in 2018:
“I have lived and worked in Rhode Island since 2006. Though I have lived here for thirteen years, I still have difficulty explaining why we take ‘Victory Day’ as a state holiday. Rhode Island has technically never celebrated ‘Victory over Japan Day’ (recognized as September 2); we instead celebrate ‘Victory Day’ (as the second Monday of August since 1966 though initially recognized on August 14). It is impossible to explain ‘Victory Day’ as a holiday. What is the victory over? What are we commemorating?”
Harada also works at DWRI Letterpress in Providence — a letterpress printshop where she prints her own work. In addition to commercial work, the shop frequently runs posters for protests, rallies and movements.