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....

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fukushima disaster area report and Exhibitions

Lost Words

I wanted to visit Fukushima since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. In November 2015, I participated with 26 people on a "Fukushima disaster area volunteer bus tour” which was coordinated by Mr. Tsutomu Soma. He is a clinical psychologist working in the temporary housing area in Fukushima.

Our volunteer group stayed one night in Terauchi's temporary housing in Minami Soma. We visited the decontamination site in Iidate village, Minami Soma and the government's approved resettlement site at Odaka where there is still tsunami damage. In the of Namie we saw "Hope Ranch" which raises cattle that have been exposed to radiation. They feed the cattle radiation affected grass and don't kill the cattle for food. They study the cattle to see how radiation affects them. On the way home we passed Route 6 which has high levels of radiation.

At the beginning of our Fukushima tour Mr. Soma told us about the mental states of the survivors and about the continued increase in earthquake-related deaths caused by the 2011 nuclear accident. He advised us to have consideration for the people who live in this land by: not wearing masks in the temporary housing, refrain from remarks like "please do your best", and listening to the Fukushima residents.

There was some nervousness and discomfort in the participant's behavior. Words of sympathy for the survivors from a participant were criticized by another participant as inappropriate. My question to a local doctor about thyroid cancer and radioactivity was criticized by two of the participants because they felt it was an inappropriate place to discuss this and they said this doctor isn't a specialist in this field. I felt greatly constrained in my speech.

Even among residents of Fukushima's temporary housing units, the same thing was happening. Residents were nervous about what to say. I talked with a couple who was about to move to a new place very soon after a three-year stay in their temporary Fukushima house. Their house was left intact in the governmentally approved resettlement area. Many large black bags containing radioactive waste were in front of their house.

I heard that even after decontamination attempts, radiation levels soar to their previous, dangerously high levels when heavy rain falls because the black bags containing the radioactive waste are everywhere. Their distrust of government is constantly increasing. This couple gave up farming because of the radiation. They couldn't believe in doctors who were over medicating people with many prescriptions to mask their problems. Leaving their temporary housing neighbors was going to be sad but they planned to go without telling anyone. I listened to the words that they could speak only to outsiders.

In the light rain, geiger counters continually sounded. I have been thinking about: the amount of radioactivity I was subjected to for two days, the people who work in the nuclear power plant and at the decontamination site, temporary housing residents whose originally contaminated region has been incorrectly been determined to be safe to return to, and we saw radiation exposed  cattle  that were eating radioactive grass at "Hope Ranch”.

The serious leak of radioactive material that has infected the groundwater around New York states's Indian Point nuclear power facility just north of New York City this month has alarmed the people but most media and the government are keeping it very quiet.

I am viewing the inside of my mind that can not be separated by a boundary line. In order to escape from entrapment we need to have the courage to face our weaknesses and to admit to ourselves and others that we should respect different opinions and have constructive conversations with those we disagree with.


"Women in the Heights - Transitions" 
In celebration on Women’s History Month The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance in partnership with Broadway Housing Communities and The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling present the exhibition. Featuring the work of thirty women artists of Uptown Manhattan.Curated by Andrea Arroyo.

Opening Reception:  Friday, March 4, 6-9pm
Artists Talk: Wednesday, March 23, 6-8pm
My artist talk, "What is home? Where is home?" will refer to the issue of nuclear refugees.

Friday March 4 - Tuesday 29
Gallery hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-4pm
by appointment

Rio III Gallery
Sugar Hill Building, 898 St Nicholas Avenue (155th Street), 9th floor, New York NY 10032

"Above The Fray"
The three-dimensional Exhibition
"All things are linked: nuclear threat"
An outline map represents our earth. In the beginning, Earth had no national borders. Folded-paper cranes are symbols of peace and hope. I made folded-paper cranes from a world map and attached them: where nuclear power plant accidents occurred, where uranium mines are, where nuclear tests were conducted, and where atomic bombs were dropped.

Saturday, April 2 - 29
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 2, 6:30-8:30pm
Manhattan Graphics Center 
250 West 40th St on the 5th Floor New York, NY10018
Monday-Friday 10am-10pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm
Tel 212-219-8783

"from key to key"
Period TBD  Please call 212-784-0694 to verify access
Hills Learning  Asian language school
315 Madison Ave on 42nd St, Suite 900 New York  NY 10017