Estelle Peck Ishigo
July 15, 1899
Oakland, California, U.S.
|Died||February 25, 1990 (aged 90)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Education||Otis Art Institute|
|Lone Heart Mountain|
Estelle Ishigo (July 15, 1899 – February 25, 1990), née Peck, was an American water color artist. During World War II she and her husband were interned at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. She subsequently wrote about her experiences in Lone Heart Mountain and she also was the subject of the Oscar winning documentary Days of Waiting: The Life & Art of Estelle Ishigo.
Estelle Peck born in Oakland, California on July 15, 1899. She was the daughter of a concert singer and a portrait and landscape artist. Throughout her childhood, she was surrounded by music and art. At the age of four, she showed promising talent in both painting and singing, and started learning the violin by the time she was twelve. At the age of twelve, she was abandoned by her parents and moved to Southern California to live with relatives and strangers.
Estelle attended Otis Art Institute, where she met San Franciscan Nisei Arthur Ishigo; in 1929, they were married in Mexico to avoid American anti-miscegenation laws. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Estelle and Arthur both lost their jobs, and Arthur was subsequently ordered to an internment camp. Estelle decided to follow him and they were both later assigned to Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. During their time at Heart Mountain, Estelle used her artwork to document their lives.
After the war and their release from internment, Arthur and Estelle lived in poverty for many years. Following Arthur's death in 1957, fellow Heart Mountain inmates helped Ishigo republish her 1972 book Lone Heart Mountain. Estelle Ishigo died on February 25, 1990, in Los Angeles, California.
- Estelle Ishigo Collection, Japanese American National Museum
- "Estelle Ishigo." Densho Encyclopedia
- Lyrical Paintings of Life Inside a WWII Internment Camp by Rebecca Onion, Slate Magazine Sept. 29 2016