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"Two Angels in the Rain -- The First Students of the New Art School"
"Two Angels in the Rain -- The First Students of the New Art School"

by Chiura Obata

sumi, 14" x 20"
Chiura Obata served as director of the Tanforan Art School. Immediately after arriving at Tanforan, he and his newly appointed staff worked together to open the school as soon as possible.

"The storm had started the night before, and on the morning after it was still raging furiously, and I was somewhat discouraged over the terrible gloomy weather....Such scenes gave me fear and anxiety. I wondered if any students would be coming at all.
As I passed the old Tavern and came to the narrow path between Mess Hall #7, I looked over toward the art building and saw three tiny girls standing on the doorsteps of our art building. I ran to open the door. I noticed their little rubber boots and raincoats were drenched. In the mess hall art building there is an enormous cooking stove but no heating facility....I ran out and went to a friend who lives in a stall nearby and asked for a couple of towels and wiped their cold heads and hands to warm them up. I asked the youngest girl (six years old), "Do you like to learn to paint?" With smiles and sparkling eyes she responded, "Sure I do!" "Who is your teacher?" I asked. "Mine Okubo," she replied. The older girls standing by remarked, "Yes, she's pretty. I want to learn from her too." In my heart, I thanked the mothers for their bravery in sending their beloved children even in such storms. I thanked Heaven for having started this movement."
Chiura Obata, in Topaz Moon
Chiura Obata
Courtesy of Kimi Kodani Hill
May 19, 1942