Nikkei Tapestry Virtual Exhibit Launch

Nikkei Tapestry: Japanese Canadians in Southern Alberta” — a new Virtual Museums of Canada exhibit produced by the Galt Museum & Archives goes live Thursday, March 5 at 11:00 am MST with a special presentation at the Galt.

Members of the Nikkei Cultural Society of Lethbridge & Area and other guests will be available to speak with the media. An update will be sent closer to the date.

The launch will include the screening of the 4-minute animationRelocation” commissioned from filmmaker Kunal Sen specifically for the virtual exhibit. It features the voice talents of local Japanese-Canadians and relatives, and was produced in partnership with the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Fine Arts [Music and New Media]. “Relocation” illustrates the lives led by children who were relocated during the war to southern Alberta through the work they did in the fields and the celebrations held for boys and girls in the Buddhist church.


Plans were to turn the exhibition "Nikkei Tapestry: the Story of Japanese Canadians in Southern Alberta" (originally shown at the Galt Museum & Archives in 2003) into a travelling exhibition. After a number of years and a changing funding climate, it was decided that a virtual, rather than a travelling exhibit, would allow the story to be made available to a much larger audience. The Galt was successful in a funding application to the Department of Canadian Heritage to create the online exhibit.

Nikkei Tapestry: Japanese Canadians in Southern Alberta” explores the history of four generations of Japanese Canadians in southern Alberta: the Issei, Nisei, Sansei, and Yonsei. It also includes the story of the Idosha who were relocated from the west coast of Canada during the Second World War, and touches on the growing community of Hapa, or those with partial Japanese heritage. Another wave of Japanese people, the Shin Issei, immigrated to Canada starting in the 1960s. Each shares its unique story of how they balanced their own culture, heritage and assimilation into Western society.

The virtual exhibit includes artifacts and archival photographs from the Galt collections, photos provided by the community, and audio and video files. It also features a centre for teachers with four Alberta Curriculum connected lesson plans; a forum where discussions around identity and nationality, and sharing of cultures are encouraged; along with glossary and resource sections.

“Nikkei Tapestry: Japanese Canadians in Southern Alberta” is a partnership project with the Department of Canadian Heritage, Nikkei Cultural Society of Lethbridge & Area, University of Lethbridge Faculty of Fine Arts [Music and New Media], and École Agnes Davidson School. The Virtual Museum of Canada is managed by the Canadian Museum of History, with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Anine VonkemanComment