Sam Nakahira’s Ruth Asawa: An Artist Takes Shape is a diligently researched and charmingly illustrated graphic biography of the life and creative career of the celebrated Japanese American sculptor. The child of Japanese immigrants, Asawa (1926-2013) grew up working on the family farm in California before that was taken away when the family, like so many other Japanese Americans of the period, was banished to a remote concentration camp during WWII. Eventually Asawa was able to leave the camp and train to be an art teacher, but anti-Japanese racism prevented her from completing her degree. In 1946 she enrolled in Black Mountain College, an experimental school in North Carolina noted for its faculty. Asawa’s observation of the natural world, and later, her exposure to traditional Mexican wire basket-making inspired her groundbreaking work in sculpture and drawing. In this ten-page excerpt from the book, out now from Getty Publications, Asawa travels to Black Mountain College in the American south–a trip marked by Jim Crow facilities designated for “colored” and “white”-where she joins a diverse student body and meets the celebrated artist/professor Josef Albers. Pages 50-59 from Ruth Asawa: An Artist Takes Shape. Text and illustrations © Sam Nakahira. Used with permission of Getty Publications.