Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace marked the 5th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster through the exhibit, “Strange Beauty: Autoradiography from Fukushima” by photojournalist Takashi Morizumi. The exhibition was at the University Art Gallery, University of Pittsburgh and featured 25 beautifully designed panels by Lisa Rasmussen. Four of the panels, titled “Downwinders,” featured Morizumi’s photographs of the land, people, and remains of Fukushima with the photographer’s observations and residents’ testimonials.
These introductory panels contextualized the main exhibition, with each of 20 panels highlighting two views of an abandoned object (cap, soccer ball, plant, shoe, etc.). The larger view reveals the radiation contained in the object—a strange beauty. The smaller view, for reference, is of the object in situ. The statement by the artist is both heart rending and urgent. You can read an excerpt of Morizumi’s statement as part of the exhibition handout. (Note that the two pages of the handout should be copied 2-sided and then folded together.)
Following a wonderful opening reception on March 15 was a panel discussion. Mr. Morizumi skyped into the event with a report about the current situation in Fukushima with bags of radioactive soil piled behind him in what was a farmer’s field (below left). Pittsburgh Jazz violinist Kei Rush generously translated for Morizumi. Zeba Ahmed, a recent University of Pittsburgh graduate and a Fulbright Scholar reported on her trip to Japan and Fukushima. Dr. Patricia DeMarco, a biologist and Rachel Carson scholar, spoke of the dangers of radiation and nuclear waste, to which we have no safe solution (right image below: L: Zeba Ahmed, R: Dr. Demarco).
The exhibition and panel were highly effective in bringing public attention to the Fukushima anniversary and the ongoing dangers and challenges of nuclear energy. The Morizumi exhibition, which is designed to be easily transported from one location to another, will be shown in Pittsburgh again as we approach the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August. Please follow us on Facebook and here to learn of all of the events we have planned for the Fall!
“Strange Beauty: Autoradiography from Fukushima” is sponsored by Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace; Center for Disaster Management; Department of History of Art and Architecture; University of Pittsburgh Art Gallery; and Popoki Peace Project; with support from Scenic Corporation of New York and the Asian Studies Center of the University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh. Exhibition panels and handout designed by Lisa Rasmussen.