OREM A painting by Japanese artist Lily Havey depicts Japanese-Americans lined up to board a train for a three-day trip to a Colorado internment camp. The internees cast shadows in blood red.
The painting is just one of a series of 23 watercolors that recall those frightening childhood memories when, in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order condemning them to living in barbed wire camps with armed guards and bright searchlights. Some spent up to three years in the Amache Internment Camp.
The family, which included Havey's parents and brother, lived in an 800-square-foot room in a wooden barracks. Heat came from a pot-belly stove, and the structure had no running water. Instead, they shared a public latrine with others.
"There's this explosion of emotion in her paintings," said Lorie Stevens, division manager over patrons and programs at the library.
"Her watercolors are powerful," she said, while Havey is "low key and soft-spoken."
The federal government didn't tell the families where they were going or what their fate would be, Stevens said. Havey recalls that fear in her work.
The display is part of a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Center for Documentary Arts in Salt Lake City.
The camp paintings have been donated to the Center for Documentary Arts and will be housed at the new Leonardo Center. She is writing which she calls a creative autobiography "because I can't remember everything that happened." Passages from the book, which is still under way, are used as captions in the exhibition, she said.
Havey, 76, began painting in watercolor in 1985, although her first medium was stained glass. She received a master of fine arts degree from the University of Utah and a bachelor of music from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
After the war, the family moved to Salt Lake City, and Havey attended Jordan Junior High, West High and the University of Utah. Then she enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music where she graduated in piano pedagogy. Later she earned a master's from the U.For 13 years, Havey taught English and creative writing at Skyline and Cottonwood high schools but left in 1971 to pursue her interests in stained glass. Then in 1985 she took up watercolors, which gave her an opportunity for more personal expression.
If you go . . .
What: Child of the Camps exhibit
Where: Orem City Library, 51 N. State
When: Monday-June 27: artist reception 7 p.m., Tuesday
E-mail: [email protected]