Postcards From Japan: A Message From Tohoku Artists is a touring exhibition of A5 works by 22 artists from North East Japan. I was able to see this exhibition at the Embassy of Japan in London recently, and the exhibition is now on at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, until 22nd April. I wasn’t allowed to take photos at the Embassy, but fortunately my friend Dominic was. You can check out his excellent photos here. All the images below are courtesy of Kate Thomson, one of the Postcards from Japan curators.
The exhibition, Postcards From Japan – A Message From Tohoku Artists, at the Ikon Gallery marks the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit north east Japan on 11th March 2011. In the aftermath of the disaster, electronic means of communication largely failed, making the use of landlines, mobile phones and the Internet extremely difficult. The post office, however, was quickly up and running and in many cases the first opportunity to report news of survival to loved ones was by postcard.
Yoshitomo Saito lost his studio and all his video equipment, but his family survived. His Building up Hope (below) shows the artist with his child, illustrating the desire for recovery in time for the next generation.
Megumi Honda’s Tenshin 2011 (below) is made of shells collected from the shore in her hometown of Higashi-Matsushima after the disaster. Her six-year-old nephew just escaped the tsunami, but saw many of his friends and neighbours drown.
The exhibition is curated by Kate Thomson and Hironori Katagiri, who were working in Tohoku when the earthquake struck. Together the pair have voluntarily organised international exhibitions and projects to support recovery in Tohoku, encouraging local artists and their communities, and developing international cultural links.
For more information visit www.postcardproject.org.
Associated Events at the Ikon Gallery
One Year On
Artist workshop with Elizabeth Rowe
Sunday 11 March 2012, 1–4pm
To mark the first anniversary of the Japanese tsunami, artist Elizabeth Rowe leads an afternoon of collage activity, giving visitors a chance to make their own creative response to this poignant date. Suitable for all ages. No need to book, just drop in. FREE, but donations for the Japanese Red Cross will be collected.