Estelle Ishigo holds the unusual distinction of being one of the only white women incarcerated at Heart Mountain. Ishigo was married to a Japanese American man and refused to leave his side when the United States government began forcing Japanese Americans into camps during WWII. While at Heart Mountain, Ishigo worked tirelessly to document everyday life in the camp through her art. She later published an illustrated book, Lone Heart Mountain, exposing the government’s poor treatment of the Japanese Americans.
Ten of Ishigo’s watercolors, on loan to Heart Mountain from the Japanese American National Museum, form the center of the upcoming exhibit, which will run through December. Heart Mountain Museum Manager Dakota Russell says this will be the first time these paintings have ever been publicly exhibited. “This is the first major showing of Estelle Ishigo’s work in nearly fifty years,” says Russell. “We’re excited to celebrate an artist who doesn’t always get the credit she’s due.”