Pictures of Belonging: Miki Hayakawa, Hisako Hibi, and Miné Okubo

Hisako Hibi, Floating Clouds, 1944, oil on canvas, 19 1⁄16 × 23 × 1 1⁄2 in. (48.4 × 58.4 × 3.8 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the American Women’s History Initiative Acquisitions Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, 2023.6.1.

November 15, 2024 – August 17, 2025
Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and G Streets, NW
Washington, DC
1st Floor, Osher Galleries

Pictures of Belonging: Miki Hayakawa, Hisako Hibi, and Miné Okubo is an unprecedented exhibition that explores in depth three trailblazing American artists of Japanese descent and asserts their rightful place in American art.

The exhibition illuminates not only the expansive and diverse bodies of work by Hayakawa, Hibi, and Okubo, but also a nuanced picture of how these women, as the minority among the minority in an art world dominated by male (and predominately white) artists, became critically acclaimed artists with long and illustrious careers in the U.S.

Pictures of Belonging aims to drive home the point that the artists’ experience of mass incarceration and relocation as Japanese Americans during WWII, while pivotal, did not define them. These women continued to grow as artists who were fearless in experimenting and exploring new artistic expressions throughout their lives.

Created during the tumultuous decades in American modern history, these artists’ work, along with their stories of resilience, remind us of the power of art in the face of adversity and challenge.