Each year, the Attleboro Arts Museum partners with the National Endowment for the Arts on a program called "The Big Read". The whole community is invited to read a selected book and partake in various community activities related to it. The selected book this year was "When the Emperor was Divine" by Julie Otsuka. The book tells a story about the Japanese Internment Camps where thousands of Japanese Americans were forced from their homes during WWII because they were classified as enemy aliens.
One of the main characters in the book is the Mother. The symbol of a Key is one of Hope that someday she and her family will return to their home and the good life they left behind before this horrific event of American history took place.
"The Big Read" is an Invitational Exhibition where a select number of artists are asked to create art related to the book. My construction of a dress made of burlap that is unraveling with a key sewn into it represents the rough life the Mother must endure having once worn fine clothes made of the highest quality. The Key, the only possession she took with her, symbolizes Hope of one day returning to her home in California.