Jun Fujita: Oblivion
Jan 12th, 2017 – Apr 21st, 2017
This exhibition presents photographs and ephemera from the poet Jun Fujita (1888-1963). Fujita is an English-language tanka poet who published regularly in Poetry during the 1920s. The first Japanese-American photojournalist, he is responsible for the most famous photos of the Eastland disaster, the Chicago race riots of 1919, and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, among others. This show explores his lesser-known landscapes and includes ephemera from his life and photojournalism work.
Jun Fujita was born outside of Hiroshima, Japan. As a teenager, he emigrated to Canada where he worked as a laborer and train porter in British Columbia. By 1909 he had made his way to Chicago, where he found employment briefly as an actor and then more enduringly as a photographer for the Chicago Evening Post. In the twenties, Fujita’s poems began appearing in Poetry, and in 1923 he published his only book, Tanka: Poems in Exile.
Although Fujita is remembered for taking some of the most indelible and horrifying images of the early twentieth century, in his poems and private photography his central fascination was with the natural world. Writing about his relationship to wild flowers, Fujita notes: “I feel that moods are beyond the reach of the camera. But I feel words are too crude for the delicate moods of wild flowers. Whether I have succeeded in portraying the moods of these wild flowers I am not sure. I am trying.”
Monday — Friday, 11 AM — 4 PM
Select Saturdays, 10 AM — 3 PM
Select Evenings, 4 PM — 7 PM