2020 55¢ Ruth Asawa
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: August 13, 2020
First Day City: San Francisco, CA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 18,000,000
Ruth Asawa was a popular figure in the San Francisco area. In the 1960s, she became even more well known through public art projects.
Asawa's first commission was a fountain in 1968. While many of her commissions were fountains, several were also reliefs and sculptures. The same year, she produced a large glass mosaic at Bethany Center Senior Housing in San Francisco. Titled Growth, the mosaic depicts a vivid sunburst of gold and yellow against a blue sky. Asawa also worked with school children to make a 16-foot relief at the Redding School.
Asawa's most personal commissions were related to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Having been interned herself, she brought a strong emotional connection to these works. In 1994, she created the Japanese Internment Memorial. This bas relief contains three panels showing life before internment, life in the camps, and the 1988 formal apology. Another work is the Garden of Remembrance at San Francisco State university. Asawa arranged 10 large boulders to represent the different internment camps. She also placed a waterfall on one side to represent energy and renewal.
Asawa believed that it was important for art to be accessible to everyone. Her dramatic works in public places help make art a part of people's daily lives.