Mary Tanaka Abo’s meeting in Seattle with artist Peter Reiquam was very productive. He has submitted a preliminary proposal to the Empty Chair Project Steering Committee which has met with their approval. His design was inspired by the wooden folding chairs that would have been used during a graduation ceremony in 1942. The chair will be constructed of bronze at about one and a half times normal scale. Mr. Reiquam believes the “increased size of the chair gives it greater presence and stature and invites interaction from visitors to the park. Sitting on the over-sized chair gives the viewer an opportunity to reflect on the history and the people the sculpture is intended to memorialize.”
The bronze base of the memorial will be similar to the gymnasium floor where the graduation ceremony actually took place. Etched onto the surface of the bronze floorboards will be the names of the forty-one individuals who were interned, the Japanese symbol for memory, recollection and remembrance, and a title “commemorating this project as a World War II memorial to the Japanese and Japanese-Americans who were taken from their Alaskan home.”
Mr. Reiquam will visit Juneau on the September19, 2012 to visit Capital School Park where he will meet with Juneau Parks and Recreation officials and the project’s committee members to decide on the specific site within the park for the memorial.