Hibakusha

https://www.soas.ac.uk/gallery/hibakusha/

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On the 5th of August 2010 at 23.15pm London time it will be the 6th of August at 08.15am Hiroshima time and it will have been 65 years since ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on Hiroshima by the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay. “A bright light filled the plane” wrote Col. Paul Tibbet, the pilot of the Enola Gay, “we turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden by that awful cloud… boiling up, mushrooming”. For a moment no one spoke then everyone was talking “look at that, look at that” exclaimed the co pilot, Robert Lewis, pounding on Tibbet’s shoulder. Lewis said he could taste atomic fission, it tasted like lead. Then he turned away to write in his journal, my god what have we done.

For the past several years Professors and PhD students from Hiroshima City University have been painting portraits of the “Hibakusha” survivors, the Japanese word translates literally to “bomb affected people”. These startlingly beautiful, paintings and the haunting descriptions of the circumstances of each survivor remind us all of man’s inhumanity to man. This exhibition is a true testament to the way in which art can cross any boundary, unite nations and use the profound skill of the few to remind the many of the futility of war.

The exhibition will be the first time any of the paintings have been shown outside Japan.

Our exhibition of 65 Hibakusha portrait paintings will last for 65 days, one for each year since the bombs were dropped both on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We will hold an accompanying lecture series at the culmination of the exhibition focussing on world peace issues with lectures delivered by colleagues from Hiroshima City University, The University of London and Kingston University with published papers as a part of the proceedings.

 

Copyright©2015 Paul Stafford