2018 · Photography, Interviews

The Suitcase Project

The Suitcase Project asks fourth and fifth-generation Japanese Canadians and Americans what they would pack if uprooted from their homes at a moment’s notice.

While these descendants of the internment and incarceration may never have to endure the same forced uprooting as their ancestors, Kayla Isomura’s work examines how they and those descended from families who experienced other forms of discrimination, remain affected by this history today through a series of photographs, short films and interviews.

Over the course of nearly three months, more than 80 subjects ranging in age and background shared their stories from cities in British Columbia, Canada and Washington, USA.

Self-portrait (2017) for The Suitcase Project


The Suitcase Project is currently touring.

Swift Current Museum

44 Robert St W, Swift Current, SK S9H 4M9
July – September 2025

Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archives

9 Wellington St E, Brampton, ON L6W 1Y1
Jan. 27 – Sept. 8, 2024

Salt Spring Island Public Library

Small exhibit, presented by the Japanese Garden Society of Salt Spring Island
June 1 – 30, 2023

Chilliwack Museum

45820 Spadina Ave, Chilliwack, BC V2P 1T3
Feb. 9 – May 20, 2023

Alberni Valley Museum

4255 Wallace St, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 3Y6
Dec. 1, 2022 – Jan. 27, 2023

Cortes Island Museum & Archives Society

Small exhibit
July – November 2022

Sidney Museum

2423 Beacon Ave L-3, Sidney, BC V8L 1X5
April 4 – July 2, 2022

University of Alberta

Small exhibit

Peace Gallery

National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS)
1684 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115, United States
Feb. 1 – July 18, 2020

Arbutus Gallery

Cowichan Valley Arts Council
2687 James St, Duncan, BC V9L 2X5
July 5 – July 26, 2019

Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre

6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby, BC V5E 4M7
June 18 – Sept. 2, 2018

Booking requests

To book The Suitcase Project for display, email Danielle at the Nikkei National Museum.

jcnm [at] nikkeiplace [dot] org

Public speaking

For interviews and public speaking engagements, connect with Kayla directly.

kayla [at] kaylaisomura [dot] com