The Kasa Project

What is a Kasa?


The Kasa Project surrounds our collective importance and need as human beings for shelter and safety.


 In Japanese, the word “kasa” means umbrella, which represents the canopy of the heavens, shelter and protection. They often signify power and dignity and the vertical handle conveys the central axis that upholds the world. They represent the ability to shield oneself from spiritual suffering and other harmful forces while providing a protected place to release emotion.

The Kasa's in this project are visual interpretations of the stories held by survivors of the Japanese American incarceration. Their stories speak to the ramifications that incarceration, separation of families, racism and other injustices cause for the survivors and subsequent generations that follow.

What We Do

Making A Difference


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Art Exhibitions/Education

The Kasa Project intends to create umbrellas that will provide viewers with insight into the multiplicity of personal experiences ensued by victims and their descendants as a result of the Japanese American incarceration during WWII. Exhibitions are focused on education.

Umbrellas of Honor

The Kasa Project offers custom artistic interpretations of stories told by Japanese American incarceration victims or their descendants. Each umbrella is artistically rendered through stories told by Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII. The intent is to promote healing by holding space for those who had been incarcerated and/or their families to give personal accounts of what they continue to experience as a result of that injustice. Using art as a language to gracefully release the complexity of those bottled up emotions that may stifle our ability to reach our full potentials as human beings. It is means to honor our ancestors and honor ourselves through visual representation reminding us of who we are and how we can to be.

About Me

Dana Kawano, a Fine Artist, Illustrator, Ritual Wear Designer and Scenic/Installation Artist is versed in a multitude of artistic mediums. Her background encompasses the creation of ‘visual landscapes’ including illustrations, elaborate wearable and scenic art that incorporate painting, textiles, found materials while integrating cultural/ritual layering to tell the story.  Kawano’s recent representative works and awards include:

  • 2019 The Kasa Project featured at the “Then They Came For Me” exhibit at Futures Without Violence alongside previously banned photography of the Japanese American WWII concentration camp experience by Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange

  • 2019 Izzy Award Winner for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design for House Full of Black Women Episode: Passing/Through/The Great Middle - Amara Tabor Smith/Ellen Sebastian Chang choreographer and director

  • 2018 Ikkai:Once (painted kasas—umbrellas—installation for the victims of the  Japanese American WWII Concentration Camps) - ODC Theater/Yayoi Kambara

  • 2018 Izzy Award nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design for performance artist Dohee Lee’s ARA I & ll  

  • 2016 Forest Tales - Anuj Vaidya - costume and set design - SF Asian Art Museum

  • 2015 Best of Show Winner - Northern California Aveda Trashion Show.

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