Artist Michelle Yamamoto and Lynn Orr, museum executive director, stand by Yamamoto’s mural inside the History Museum of Hood River County.
As of Friday, April 6, 2018
Hood River History Museum has added two murals to their permanent collection by muralist Michelle Yamamoto.
The murals were painted by Hood River Valley High School students, mentored by Yamamoto through a “Women of Historical Significance” grant from Hood River Cultural Trust and visual arts education funding from Arts in Education of the Gorge.
The murals have been donated to the museum as a Gift of the Artist in Memory of Rod Olmstead.
The 12-foot and 8-foot murals are the first to honour two notable females who lived in Hood River in the late 1800s and early 1900s: Japanese poet Shizue Iwatsuki and Wasco tribal elder Martha Aleck.
Aleck (c.1856-1939) helped bridge the social divide between Hood River’s white community and resident Native Americans. Aleck was known for her skills as a nurse, healer, and artisan. Her beaded leather pieces are particularly prized for their utility and aesthetic beauty.
Iwatsuki (1897-1984) distinguished herself both in her adopted Hood River and her native Japan. Initially a humble wife and mother, Iwatsuki took on the larger political challenge of World War II-era racial discrimination. She was a social organizer, but earned international recognition for her traditional Japanese poetry.