The Suitcase Project by Kayla Isomura at the SSI Public Library

From June 2nd to 30th, the JGS will be hosting a photo/video exhibition The Suitcase Project by Kayla Isomura at the Program Room in the SSI Public Library.

Special programs during the Exhibition:

Artist Talk by Kayla Isomura June 2nd at 7 pm
Community Workshop of Intergenerational Memories by Susanne Hunter: June 16th from 5 pm to 8 pm
Japanese Canadian Memory Projects: Rebuilding the Community and Recognizing Our Responsibilities Today by Kirsten Emiko McAllister (professor of Simon Fraser University): June 27th at 7 pm

(please find more details below)

What would you take with you if you were given a moment’s notice to pack up and leave your home, uncertain if you would ever return?
This question was a reality for about 22,000 Japanese Canadians living on the BC coast in 1942, including 77 people on Salt Spring Island. 
Isomura’s multimedia exhibit brings us the experience and history of the Japanese Canadian community’s mass uprooting and internment in the 1940s in a personal way that we can feel and connect with.

Through her photography and video of the participants’ packing process, supplemented by local archival photos, we will learn about this dark chapter of Canadian history and connect with how it impacts us today. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the uprooting and dispossession of people around the world due to natural disasters, political instability, and war.

Kayla Isomura is a Vancouver-based photographer currently exploring intergenerational trauma and racialized identity.

Exhibition Opening and Artist Talk by Kayla Isomura
June 2nd Friday:
Reception from 6 pm 
Artist Talk from 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Kayla Isomura will share her personal account of the project’s creative process.
While this started as a question of dispossession, it more broadly became a conversation about the legacy of this history today, whether related to personal identity, family, community or global politics,’ says Isomura.

Community Workshop facilitated by Susanne Hunter, MD, RCC
June 16th Friday: 5 pm to 8 pm.

Exploration of Intergenerational Memories – How Do We Relate? 
A gently guided exploration of intergenerational and collective trauma and healing through the Japanese Canadian uprooting experience.

  • What are signs in ourselves and others of carrying intergenerational and collective trauma? How does it affect our lives? 
  • What can we do to contribute to its healing in ourselves and our community?
  • What can we do when we experience or witness mistreatment because of race, gender, culture, age or status?

Preregistration required. Fifteen spots are available for this workshop.
Please write to <>

Community Talk by Kirsten Emiko McAllister, Ph.D., Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University
June 23rd Friday: 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Japanese Canadian Memory Projects: Rebuilding the Community and Recognizing Our Responsibilities Today

McAllister will explore how the community’s wider pursuit of social justice requires us to go beyond our own experiences of persecution and examine our responsibilities to Indigenous Nations and our links to other groups facing persecution today.

Presented by the Japanese Garden Society of Salt Spring Island.
Sponsored by the Salt Spring Island Public Library.
The Exhibition’s community talks and workshop are funded by the Salt Spring Foundation.
Archival photographs are courtesy of the Salt Spring Island Archives.

This mini travelling version of the Suitcase Project is a loan from the Nikkei National Museum.