Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Teacher Packet

Chiura Obata

Chiura Obata (1885–1975) was a renowned landscape artist, professor, and devoted environmentalist. Born in 1885 in Japan, Obata studied ink painting before immigrating to California in 1903, settling in San Francisco’s Japantown. After an influential trip to Yosemite, Obata began devoting his art to portraying the beauty of nature. Throughout the next decade, he continued to earn recognition, but like many Japanese Americans during WWII, his life was violently uprooted as his family was interned. During his imprisonment, Obata was able to start art schools at two internment camps, teaching hundreds of students. After the end of the war, Obata lectured at UC Berkeley, joined the Sierra Club’s environmentalist efforts, and consistently celebrated Japanese aesthetics until his death in 1975. Over the course of a seven-decade career, Obata became a prominent educator at UC Berkeley and a central leader in the California Art scene. Download the teacher packet in the sidebar for Lesson Plans and activities.

This teacher packet contains the following lesson plans:

  • Lesson 1 : Obata-Inspired Landscape Art
  • Lesson 2 : Obata-Inspired Poetry
  • Lesson 3 : Environmentalism “Can Art Save the World?”
  • Lesson 4 : 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
  • Lesson 5 : Japanese Internment Experience and Political Art
  • Lesson 6: “I Remember” (Poetry Activity)
  • Lesson 7: The Poetry in Obata’s Paintings
  • Lesson 8: Bearing Witness