“I am the person who made the posters:” Artist explains intent

Flyer found near Argo Hall in Revelle College. (Gabe Schneider/The Triton)

I am the person who made the posters, and I feel I should clarify their meaning, as well as apologize for not making that meaning obvious enough and causing this whole situation.

First, they are not anti-Muslim at all, I intended them to be sympathetic towards Muslim. I am a Japanese American myself, so the subject of interment has always meant a lot to me as a tragic event, especially since my own grandparents were forced into internment.

The posters were meant to mimic the internment posters because I wanted to shock/anger people and to show them what could happen if they didn’t do anything to stop it. It was a warning presented as a possible future. I know this meaning doesn’t come across in the posters very well, but that is why I wrote in red ink at the bottom of each poster.

Each poster has a message or subject that was supposed to get the viewer curious and begin researching internment, as well as send a message about internment. They included things such as Fred Korematsu, Executive Order 9066, Unit 442, as well as little messages comparing dates like “Feb 19 1942, Jan 27 2017”. A couple even included statistics or quotes about refugees and how they are harmless.

That was the other goal of this project, it was to make people educate themselves. I left many of the messages vague and with a loose connection to internment because I wanted to simply establish a connection between the situation of the Muslim people, and the Japanese people, and then let the viewer arrive at their own conclusion.

Though, it looks like the messages, even the very obvious ones, were ignored and most people assumed they were anti-Muslim. I wasn’t necessarily after changing the world, I just wanted to add to the discussion, provide some information, and let people know that this had all happened before. This message becomes more and more apparent as one sees more posters, but sadly most of the posters have been torn down, and their messages erased. This, again, I recognize as my fault since I did not make their message obvious enough, which lead people to think they were anti-Muslim.

The article written about my posters made no mention of the writing at the bottom of each poster. Seeing how this is pretty key to the interpretation of the posters, I would like to ask that a new picture of the posters that includes the writing be put up. Though, again, I don’t necessarily blame you for not including the writing, seeing as how they were vague and almost not related, depending on which poster you saw.

Finally I would just like to apologize again for the misunderstanding, and to anyone that I have offended or hurt. Thank you for listening.

This letter was submitted by the artist in order to clarify their meaning. He wishes to be anonymous, but we have verified that he did create the posters.

The positions stated here do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Triton, any of its members, or any of its affiliates. We welcome responses to opinion pieces. If you’d like to submit a response, or comment on a different issue affecting the UC community, please submit here.

  • Livnthedream

    Doesn’t matter, started conversation.

  • disgusted

    as they say in urdu, “drown yourself in handful of water”

  • sister_h

    I appreciate the effort by the artist and understand the intent. The context (this is a piece of political art making a statement against the political scapegoating of both Japanese Americans and Muslim Americans) was missing and so people were bothered by the ambiguity.

  • Theresa St. Amant

    Looks like fear-mongering propaganda to me. And if it’s supposed to be humorous, the ‘artist’ must have a rather dark, sadistic side to think intimidating Muslims is ‘funny’. Sweetheart, the time to clarify what you meant to say in a textural document is while you’re writing it. Cut the BS, you want to alarm, anger and irritate people. You did it. Consider yourself a success and get over it. There’s enough drama in the world without artsy people creating fictitious crises. AND if you can’t reveal who you are when speaking about what you did, there’s no way any of us are believing that you felt you were doing the right thing for the right reason. YOU know who and what you are and will have to live with that for the rest of you life.

    • Jerry Shu

      I feel like you’re completely missing the point of the flyers, which should be pretty obvious. I think it’s a strong piece because it highlights similarities between the current situation with the Muslim ban and Japanese internment, two bad actions on the part of the US government. It isn’t to intimidate Muslims, because it’s pretty obviously not a real thing. It’s to point out how close we’re getting to repeating a dark spot in American history

  • Maximus300

    All you really did was prove yourself an hysterical fool. While you may get the benefit of being anonymous on this incident, I am sure you will provide several future performances. Time to grow up.

    • Jerry Shu


    • Maximus300

      If you can’t get it, I won’t bother explaining it.

  • Terrie Best

    So please do as the artist requested and post a picture of the red ink message he referenced.

  • Timothy Lee

    Respect for your work. Too many people talk and not enough actually get
    out and do something about it. I bet most of these haters didn’t even
    read your explanation. Keep it up man and never stop working for the
    little guy.

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  • John Smith

    Ah yes, preventing people from entering your country is totally the same as imprisoning your own citizens.

    Trying to make comparisons never works for constructive political discussion. At best this will only entertain and earn you the approval of people who already agree with you. No matter how clever you think your comparison is, the other side will easily find some sort of flaw with it, strengthening their resolve and furthering their disagreement with you.