Objects of Affection
The Objects of Affection Exhibit draws upon upon the personal papers of families featured in the Re/Collecting Project, an online archive and ethnic studies memory project of California’s Central Coast. The exhibit focuses on the bonds formed by diverse communities as evoked through their stories, photographs, letters, songs, and performances. As historical evidence, the objects of affection featured here allow us to bear witness to the social, political, and cultural dynamics on the Central Coast within the larger contexts of U.S. empire building and war—but experienced as intimate and seemingly ordinary moments in one’s life. A focus on “objects” also invites us to explore the relationship between form and content: How do these relationships take shape within material forms of expression like a letter, a song, a photograph, a gift, or a shared craft? What are the potentials and the limits afforded by different media? And of course, an object of affection refers to the beloved with whom one would create new worlds.
Whether as individuals, as material evidence, or as media, these objects of affection suggest the everyday yet powerful ways individuals responded to social and legal exclusions to forge rich community bonds, family, and friendships.
Objects of Memory
Illustrated Tamura Family Portrait.
Photo illustration. Mutsuko and Ken Kitasako with their son, Edwin Tetsuo, who was their first-born child. Guadalupe, CA. c. 1935. Courtesy of Barbara Kikuko Finn. Photo illustration by Ragini Sahai. From the Exhibit “Objects of Affection.” Robert E. Kennedy Library, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, California.