My desire to create art comes from my search for the meaning of our existence. I use my artwork as a key to understand others and myself. The most precious thing in my life is the growth process. Art is my guide and mentor....

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Travel Report and Fall News

September marks a month with many disasters in Japan. This September 6, there was an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 with the epicenter in the Middle Eastern part of Hokkaido. The epicenter was 62 miles away from the Tomari nuclear power plant, which had been inactive. The blackout across Hokkaido reminded me of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident seven years ago and New York City's massive blackout of 2003. I felt terror thinking about when the nuclear power plant will be restarted.

There was the 17 anniversary of September 11 attacks in New York City.The number of victims have been increasing nowadays. Many victims have been died by cancer because of  the toxic substances was mixed in the dust when the building collapsed.

In August I visited friends in Buffalo and Montreal. This trip began with visiting Niagara Falls on both the US and Canada borders. On the Canadian side, luxurious houses line up along the river and flourish in the tourism business. On the US side factories line up along the river, and the place where the waterfall can be seen was a national park.

While guiding me, my friend told me about the “Love Canal Incident,” known as the site of the landfill where this neighborhood became the epicenter of a large-scale environmental pollution disaster that hurt the health of hundreds of residents. Her friend has become cancer and still lives there.

In Montreal, I visited Ms. Ryoko Hashizume who I met in Belgium in 2015. She introduced me to her members of group “Montréal KIZUNA” who remembers the East Japan great earthquake, and knew the current situation of people who had to coexist with radiation, and continued to support. All the members were unique. They were cooperating naturally using their skills, and I felt comfortable to be with them.

During Japanese festival, I enjoyed participating their activities. They had a booth to sell supporters’ handmade items, and a corner to give information on nuclear issues such as radiation exposure. I had a chance to communicate with many customers and I got information on Canadian nuclear issues. Quizzes on nuclear issues became popular by giving prizes to people with correct answers. I felt that continuing activities toward such publicity will lead to raising awareness of nuclear issues.

In Montreal, I measured spatial dose of radioactivity with my geiger counter called ECO TEST of Ukraine's TERRA-P.  Approximately average 0.13 μSv / h. There was a place that go up to 0.16 μSv / h in the Kent park close to the Montreal University.I heard from Ryoko that McGill University and Montreal University in Montreal were used as laboratories for the Manhattan Project before ultimately moved to the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories where located about 200 km north of Ottawa in Ontario. I knew that Britain was involved in the development of nuclear bombs, but I didn't know that Canada was also involved. More info: Canada’s historical role in developing nuclear weapons

Although I tend to believe myself that I am safe, my apartment in New York is also  0.13 μSv/h. This figure is almost the same as my parents' house, which is about 100 km away from Fukushima, which was a candidate site for radioactive waste final disposal site in Tochigi. My Geiger counter is not accurate but it serves as a guide. Measuring radioactivity with a Geiger counter is a trigger to make one aware of our environment, and it reminds me that radioactive contamination is not another person's affair.

In this trip, I learned there are similar problems in the US and Canada, such as indigenous people's exposure to uranium mining, the existence of concentration camps of Japanese immigrants during the wartime, etc. I felt that the shadow of the Britain in Canada. Knowing Canada would lead to knowing the US more.

"Under This Sky: Entrance of Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant" 
The three worst nuclear meltdowns in history were at Three Mile Island in the U.S., Chernobyl in the Ukraine and Fukushima in Japan. The Three Mile Island nuclear accident, in 1979, was the first of these major nuclear accidents. Next year, on March 28, will be the 40th anniversary of this event, and the plant is scheduled to be shut down in September. The image of the entrance to the Three Mile Island plant implies, with both relief and anxiety, the long road of its decommissioning.

The 8th Anti-Nuke Power Art Exhibition
September 24, Monday- October 21, Sunday
Opening  September 26, Wednesday, 5:30-7:00PM
Closing    October 17, Wednesday, 5:30-7:00PM
Theater for the New City’s  TNC Art Gallery
155 1st Ave. New York, NY 10003

Opening day is International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Let's wish for denuclearisation and peace together.

Group Critiques 
Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop program
September 24, Monday
50/50 Gallery
323 West 39th Street 5th Floor NY NY 10018

As an introduction to my project "under this sky”, I am presenting some of my photo panels, and my powerpoint with my recent activities and plans.

Discover Your Collagraph
September 29, Saturday, and 30, Sunday
10:30AM- 2:30PM
Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop
323 West 39th Street 2nd Floor NY NY 10018

"Nature Rip off" 
The adan is a tree, a symbol of Okinawa, used for a long time by Okinawans for their daily necessities. Seventy percent of US military bases in Japan are in Okinawa, and the island’s natural beauty has been destroyed by the construction of these bases. This cracked landscape implies that Nature has been “ripped off” by human beings. And as we are all part of nature, we humans have been ripping off ourselves.

RBPMW Members Show
October 1 - October 28
50/50 Gallery
Opening Reception: October 3, Wednesday, 6:00-8:00PM
During EFA Open Studios: October 19, Friday, 6-9PM
Contact Robert Blackburn Printmaking workshop
323 West 39th Street 5th Floor NY NY 10018

"all things are linked 911” 
The outline map represents our Earth. In the beginning, Earth had no national borders. The folded-paper cranes serve as symbols of peace and hope. I’ve made folded-paper cranes from a world map and attached them wherever U.S. bombs have been dropped and where 9/11 disasters occurred. The U.S. is a country of immigrants, yet it bombs its immigrants’ homelands. Since the September 11 attacks, the number of refugees around the world has been increasing. The refugee problem has been caused by needless human conflict.

Voice: A Celebration of Refugee Stories
EDGE Gallery
October 12, Saturday - October 28, Sunday
Opening Reception: October 12, Saturday, 5:00-10:00PM
“Sauti" Film screening & Discussion October 19, Friday, 7:00-9:00PM
Organised by NeeNee productions 
7001 W Colfax Lakewood, CO80214

Advanced Printmaking Workshop 
October  20, Saturday - October 21, Sunday
Boulder Creative Collective
organized by Melissa Pickering
2500 47th St, Boulder, Colorado 80301

Monday, July 30, 2018

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Memorial Events

Our group Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World and Peace Boat hosted the event of Hibakusha (A-Bomb Survivors from Hiroshima & Nagasaki) on Friday July 13th at Players Theatre from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. They were in NYC as a part of the Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World project by Peace Boat. Despite short notice, a lot of people participated in this rare event. We heard testimonies and reports from three hibakusha.

Mr. Ueda Koji: Hiroshima survivor exposed to atomic bomb at age 3. Born 15 February 1942. Lives Tokyo.
Ms. Kuramori Terumi: Nagasaki survivor exposed to atomic bomb at age 1. Born 8 January 1944. Lives Hiroshima.
Mr Shnagawa Kaoru: 2nd generation Hiroshima survivor. Born 10 June 1950. Lives Hiroshima. Volunteer Guide.

Although they had no memory when the bomb was exploded, they talked about the hardships of living as an atomic bomb survivor with the memories of the other deceased hibakusha. It has been getting harder to hear memories of those days by aging of A-bomb survivors. Now, an urgent task is how to convey the testimony of the A-bomb survivors and the message of peace to the next generation.

The peace activities and anti-nuclear movement  in the United States were also introduced hibakusha and audience. One peace activist Catherine Skopic showed a ring of connected folded paper cranes that was a gift from Hibakusha long time ago in Japan and talked about the memories as she weeped. It was an emotional moment to remind that the exchange between Japanese and Americans wishing for peace has continued for many years.

The existence of faded colored folded paper cranes became an impressive silent testimony of atomic bomb victims. The cranes were in faded thin pink --- reminiscent of cherry blossoms. I felt this color symbolized connections between hibakusha who died as victims and our lives, and the connections between her and the survivors. I imagined a situation that A-bomb survivors who passed away were folding paper cranes with their wish. " Don't forget us.”

Peace Gathering to Commemorate
73rd Anniversary of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Friday August 3 
12:00pm – 1:30pm
Front of Japanese Consulate
299 Park Avenue NYC
Organized by Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World 
Global list of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Day events

25th Annual Interfaith Peace Gathering 
Commemorating Hiroshima & Nagasaki Atomic Bombings

Sunday, August 5
5:00pm – 8:00pm
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square Park South, NYC 

Commemorative Ceremony:
Messages from the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 
Sharing Hiroshima survivor Tomiko Morimoto’s story.
A silent prayer at the exact moment of the Hiroshima bombing
(8:15 Aug. 6th Japan time)
Silent Peace Walk to Washington Square Park. 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb Photo Exhibition.
(My artwork titled "Silent" is part of the exhibition)

Silent Series (Hiroshima - Nagasaki )
Silkscreen, Emboss, Burned deco edge.  27.5” x 16.5”  2015

In the early 1990s I took a photograph of an abandoned school's corridor in Japan. I felt it seemed like children disappear in the future. When the March 11th, 2011 earthquake occurred, I remembered and used this photograph in my series of artwork titled "Silent “. In order to remind of the disaster, and listen to the voice of the dead, I changed the clock's time of the corridor to the time when the atomic bomb exploded and the nuclear accident occurred.

Atomic Bomb Panel & Peace Art Exhibition  
Thursday August 9- Tuesday 14
Opening Thursday August 9, 6 - 8:30pm
Monday-Friday 12-6pm, Saturday 12-3pm  
43 West 13 Street NYC

Saturday, May 19, 2018

70th annual Nakba Day commemoration

Nakba Day, May 15th, 2011

I heard gunshots on Nakba Day, May 15th, 2011 in Beirut, Lebanon as I participated in the border demonstrations that took place between Lebanon and Israel.  While walking with a lot of people toward the border, I imagined the Nakba Day of 1948 when 700,000 Palestinian refugees were driven out of their hometown and crossed the border, after the Palestinian territory was occupied and Israel was founded. There was a sinister atmosphere caused by the tension that something serious might happen. On that day, young Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. I heard that those Israeli soldiers were surprised at the sound of Lebanese soldiers shooting toward the sky to stop Palestinians from approaching the border, and started shooting. On the way back, I noticed and can't forget that, people were weeping inside the bus.

New York City, May 16, 2018

The tragedy of Nakba continues even now after 70 years. It will not end unless the Palestinians regain their dignity as human beings. The Jews who experienced the Holocaust should understand what human dignity is and how important it is. In New York City, on May 16th, 2018, the day after the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day, the organizations of "Jews Say No! "and "Jewish Voice for Peace - NYC " hosted and invited Jewish communities to come together in order to support Palestinians' freedom, dignity, and right to return home. Despite the rain and the urgent rally, a lot of people participated. I felt hope for the future in our mourning for those who were killed in Gaza. Most of the people at this rally were Jews who listened to the speakers very seriously. Everyone repeated together the speaker's' words to make our voices and hearts united for Palestinians. 

On May 17th, 2018, I went to see the movie "Killing Gaza” by Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen screened at "Revolution Books" in Harlem the next day. The situation in Gaza, as seen in the movie, was much worse than I imagined. Through this movie, I felt that it is very difficult to release from and heal from trauma and brainwashing but I was deeply impressed by and was able to trust the resilience and vitality of human beings. In the last scene, the young Palestinians expressed themselves very powerfully through dance, painting, and poetry. I believe the best way of expressing their lives is the key to overcoming this situation. I am thinking about my project "In search for the meaning of our lives" that I left behind by recalling the exhibitions and workshops at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon 7 years ago. I hear the sound of knocking at my door.

Demonstration opposite US military base on Jeju Island in Korea 

Arts to End Violence

Thursday May 24 - Thursday, June 7. 
Gallery is OPEN on Tues. Weds. and Thurs.  
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 24, 6:30-8:30 PM
Closing  Reception:  Thursday, June 7,  6:30-8:30 PM
Ron Taylor Gallery: 1160 St Johns Place, Brooklyn NY 11213 
Hosted by Crown Heights Meditation Centre 

My work is about the US military base on Jeju Island in Korea. The United States has more than 1,000 military bases in about 150 countries. It is the top military force in the world and it has  the largest number of soldiers. The US military base has been constructing facilities on Jeju island in Korea for years. There is a tragic history of massacres of Koreans on this island. Due to the intervention of the United States and the Soviet Union, Korea was divided by the 38th parallel into two states, north and south, despite being one nation.

These photographs are taken from the demonstrations against the US military base on Jeju Island in Korea. After a peace festival which Korean and Japanese people carried out on Jeju Island in Korea, the participants appealed for solidarity with people opposed to construction of US military bases in Okinawa, Japan. Construction of the US military base has destroyed nature, and has negatively impacted residents’ lives in many ways. 

my key

Brooklyn Art Book Fair
Robert Blackburn Printshop Monitors

May 25, Friday, 6-9PM
May 26, Saturday, 12-6PM
Free & open to all
McCarren Park Play Center
776 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg, Brookly, NY11222 
More info: 

will present an artist book "your key" and original etching plates, and sale small prints entitled "my key” on May 25.

“Everybody is born with a key for finding purpose in their life.” Based on my concept, I collected discarded keys to make 365 etching plates of different keys and backgrounds. These 365 key plates imply our birthdays and daily lives. The white embossed key prints are expressions of invisible keys in our mind. When we notice the presence of our key, our true life begins. 

Printmaking Workshops for seniors

May 17 - Thursday,  1-3PM - Collagraph
May 24 - Thursday,  1-3PM - Collagraph
May 31 - Thursday,  1-3PM - Drypoint   
Jun 7 -    Thursday,  1-3PM - Chine-collé
120 West 76th Street, 
NYC 10023

This series of artist-led workshops, organized in conjunction with the EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop introduces contemporary, easy approaches to printmaking.
I will volunteer for June 7th.

Discover Your Collagraph

June 23,Saturday, and 24, Sunday
10:30AM - 2:30PM
The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts 
Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop
323 West 39th Street 2nd Floor NY NY 10018