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....

Thursday, April 15, 2021

March memories


This March 11, 2021 was the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Many events commemorated it. I participated in the annual Anti-Nuke Power Art exhibition, Peace Crane Ceremony rally in front of the Indian Point Nuclear Plants, and related online events. 


On March 11, last year, WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. New York was locked down after holding a memorial rally about Fukushima’s Nuclear Disaster in front of the midtown library. 



Yoshihiro Kaneda, from Fukushima, who was a writer and an anti-nuclear activist, died suddenly. His partner Mizuho told me that Yoshihiro had been active in anti-nuclear movements since he was a teenager. He visited Fukushima after 3.11, and continued to interview and write articles about nuclear damage. Recalling the time spent with them, we inherited Yoshihiro’s anti-nuclear activities, and held a commemorative rally for the victims of Fukushima. While reading the English translation of the comments from Japan, we conveyed the current situation in Fukushima. 



Since then, we have been in the midst of change. The treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons scheduled for April was postponed. New York City has experienced many deaths, a declining population, and a resurgence of nature. 



I remembered the time of serious change that I experienced 10 years ago. A friend living in Japan who was worried about my family, informed me about the Great East Japan Earthquake. I knew the dangers of radiation, so I immediately thought of the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant. My family lived in the north of Tochigi prefecture, 100 km from the Fukushima Nuclear Plants. I started checking news and weather reports repeatedly. I still remember my desperate feelings when I knew the wind direction changed on March 14th. My hometown became covered with radiation, became a nuclear hotspot, and became a candidate for radioactive waste treatment facilities, simply because they have national forests. 



In the10 years since the Fukushima nuclear accident, the lies of the government and the media, and the devastating situation of the courts not functioning fairly, were revealed. The same is true not only in Japan, but also in the United States, and other countries. 



March 28th, 2021 was the 42nd anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. In Spring, 2015 I met Mary Stamos. She has lived near the TMI nuclear plant since before the TMI accident. She has been studying the effects of radiation on human cancers and malformed plants in her residential area. I’ll never forget the shock of seeing deformed dandelions for the first time, at the place Mary took me to. 



The downplaying of the damage, and the hiding of information, about the Three Mile Island and Fukushima nuclear accidents, is strikingly similar. Their damage is still ongoing. Cherry blossoms were in bloom near the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant when I was there. The connections between the two countries' nuclear disasters blends into the beautiful landscape.


In order to protect ourselves and create the world we desire, we need to search for the truth from many sources of information, and face it in good faith. Hands-on experience and communication are essential for training our sensibilities and skills in selecting real information. We have lost direct experiences due to Covid 19 and are recovering it through our immersion in nature. In the cycles of nature, I feel the light of the future in the warm spring sunshine. A new cycle begins.

 

Exhibitions, events, projects


11th Anti-Nuke Power Art     


Thursday, March 11, 2021 — Sunday, June 27, 2021

Contact: Organizer Keiko Koshimitsu 

Phone:201 952 2617

Up to 4-5 people at a time with an appointment weekends only

A&G International Gallery

175 Maplewood Avenue   Bogota NJ 07603


Virtual Opening Reception:  Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 7 pm 

Guest speaker:

The earthquake Disaster area report by Shigeru Hanaoka,

The real fear of nuclear power plants by Shirou Ogura

Artist Talk


,

Under This Sky: Fukushima 311 Hamadori                                      

Digital Photograph                                                                             

On Hamadori in Fukushima, I remembered the enjoyable summer that I spent at the beach as a child, while looking at the desolate scenery, after the 311earthquake. Even four years after the Fukushima nuclear accident, a house destroyed by the tsunami, couldn’t be demolished, due to its high radioactivity. It remained as it was. Now, 10 years later, I wonder what's going on in that place, where time stopped March 11, 2011.



Under This Sky: Fukushima 311 Nuclear waste

Digital Photograph                                                                                

Everywhere, a landscape with tons of black, flexible container bags, filled with contaminated nuclear waste, were stacked in Fukushima’s disaster area. A worker from the Ranch of Hope, fed radioactive waste grass, to the exposed cattle without complying with the government slaughter order. The temporary response, to the enormous amount of nuclear waste, hasn’t changed, and the situation remains unsettled even after 10 years.


Traditional Peace Crane Ceremony

10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster
Saturday, March 15th, 12pm at the gates of Indian Point 


Residents near the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which is the closest to New York City, have held their Fukushima nuclear accident memorial events in solidarity with Fukushima residents. The Indian Point’s last reactor shuts down permanently on April 30th. 


I participated in this Indian Point event. Residents around the nuclear power plants have suffered many years of health problems. I also learned that Mr. Fujishima, who I met  and photographed at a temporary housing facility in Fukushima, died of pancreatic cancer. A resident of Indian Point, who lost her partner to cancer, made a lot of paper cranes. May this prayer for health and peace come true.


In/Out – Light/Dark: Women in the Heights and Art in Our Time                 

Presented by the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance.

Curator : Andrea Arroyo

Exhibition Online: March 15th

https://www.nomaanyc.org/virtual/women-in-the-heights-2021/

Online Opening:  March 18th, 7:30pm 

Online Artist Talk: April 1st, 7:30pm


Lucifer

Digital Photograph

My days of internal dialogue in my apartment, and in nearby parks surrounded by nature, gave me awareness of my life, while experiencing Covid 19 rules: lockdown, social distancing, and wearing masks. In the natural cycle of life, under the sunlight, one lives with death and rebirth. "The darkest hour is always just before the dawn." Lucifer is a Latin word meaning "stars shining at dawn" and "a person who brings light”. We are all living in the present, and are illuminating the future, as beings of light. We know there is light, because there is darkness.


West Harlem Arts: Resilience 2021


Presented by Children's Art Carnival 

Exhibition Online: Thursday April 8 - Saturday May 22

https://westharlemarts.org

Online Opening: Saturday April 10th, 4pm 


In the wake of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the organizations joined forces to organize and present a virtual exhibition series celebrating the resilience of local artists from West Harlem and the surrounding community. 



Resilience

The information turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made the divisions between this country’s people clearer. Looking back on what I learned from living in the United States as a Japanese person, I thought about what I could do in this community in nature and the park. West Harlem has a historic site associated with the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb. I would like to work with local artists to provide peace education that conveys what Japan has learned from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima, which have experienced nuclear disasters. Learning from past nuclear development events and leading a peaceful world is a manifestation of my resilience in this community.


Recording and shooting by Wakako Koda

Virtual Choir LOOK UP AT THE SKY "Sukiyaki" 

https://youtu.be/plZ4txPUR6c


“On March 11th ten years ago, people’s lives and the most precious things were taken away suddenly, and we were flooded with sorrow. And the sentiment still lingers… Similarly, people in the world are overwhelmed with sorrow and anger, caused by disasters and conflicts. We wish for smiles, because they open our minds even in those circumstances. That’s why we smile. Human beings are born to have a smile. Let’s keep smiling. If we smile, the world will smile too. We’d love to smile and be lightened up together. So we will sing together.” 


During the lockdown, I wanted to sing. Wakako has been working on “Sing for Smile” project”. “Look up at the sky” is a song I have special memories of. Without losing hope, it reminds us that living in the present leads to a happy future. Thank you for this timely project!




Monday, February 1, 2021

Beginning of 2021

The rainy weather forecast was brilliantly off, and my new year began with a dazzling sunrise in the Central Park. Last year, I spent most of my time in parks. 2020 was a year when I felt the natural providence of life and death. I hope this sunlight leads to entry of a new, peaceful cycle.


During a lockdown, I spent a quiet time while thinking about myself and my home. I renewed my second US permanent resident card. In retrospect, I spent half my life in New York City. During that time, I have  witnessed the changes in New York City. Last year, I experienced the aha moments when some memories I had been concerned in in the past were connected with current situations and began to realize its meanings. 


Electoral fraud became a major issue, and the ongoing turmoil in the presidential election reached its peak on January 6th. I have been feeling a sense of crisis that freedom of speech has been violated by biased coverage and unilateral censorship in mainstream media and social networks. If this goes on, our world might shift to controlled totalitarianism. 



Looking back on the changes in New York City over the past year, I am asking myself what it means to live in this place and this era, and what kind of future I hope to live in.  While listening to the voice from my heart and doing honest activities to myself, I will search for its answer. 


 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons announcement



The day I saw the orange clouds from the window in the morning. On January 22nd, the treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons went into effect in the 50 countries and regions ratifying it. I participated in a rally held in front of the United Nations. It was the day when one of the results of many years of people's peace activities came out. I had mixed feelings because A-bombed country Japan and Atomic bomb holding countries didn't participate in the treaty.


Unfortunately, I couldn't reunite with many of my friends who had previously met and worked anti-nuclear and peace activities at a faceless rally with all masks. Thinking about the people who couldn't come here, and the hibakusha around the world, I prayed that the war would not be repeated by a society where double standards have become commonplace. 

 

The signboard of the homeless "WE THE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FORGOTTEN" living in front of the towering United Nations and the sight of prayer with peoples’ long-standing wishes for peace, were symbolically visible to me.


Since the Manhattan Project for atomic bomb development began in New York City, the world has been polluted by nuclear weapons , nuclear power plants, uranium mine minings, nuclear waste, etc. There are more than 1000 Superfund sites on the National Priorities List in the United States. New York City also has hotspots. Unless we face radiation damage as our own problem, we might be one of the victims without knowing. 

Virtual Exhibition: Interpretations in Textures


I participate in the virtual exhibition "Interpretations in Textures"curated by Tiffanee E. Thompson at the BxArts Factory.  One of my work titled “trinity” is on the theme of nuclear bomb. In the artist talk, I will also talk about when I participated in the commemorative event of the Trinity site, which was the first experimental site for the atomic bomb. 

On View from Tuesday January 7th to February 12th.
Opening Thursday, January 7th, 2021 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm

Interpretations in Texture, curated by Tiffanee E. Thompson, is a group virtual exhibition, presented by BxArts Factory, that explores the many ways that we interpret our lives. Through printmaking and the incredible eye of our strong female-led lineup, you, our audience, will have the opportunity to step into how their imagination and personal experiences have developed into works of art that is both relatable and pushes the boundaries of the limitations of life. Mixed with symbolism, collage, historical context, cultural context and the beautiful uses of color, shading and shadow we can explore artwork that honors personal interpretation and experiences with universal themes such as family, immigration, pain, joy, motherhood, design and imagination.

This exhibition will take you on a journey of how important it is to understand the process of creation, the experience of the artist and how that experience has impacted the way in which they share their life’s work with us all. 

Participating Artists: 
Luanda Lozano
Palén Obesa
Rachel Sydlowski
Yasuyo Tanaka
Tammy Wofsey

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wake-up Call


The anti-lockdown demonstration was held in New York city on November 22nd. New York City has been hit hard financially and its damage is immeasurable.Economic disparities are widening, and dividing people's minds. In the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday, Many people spent time away from family and friends for Covid 19.The president-elect is on trial for fraudulent elections, and has not yet been officially decided. Unless this fraud issue is settled and the trust of the government and the people is regained, no matter who becomes president, a bright future of healing and unity will not come. 

The 2020 elections gave me the opportunity to look back on my 26 years of experience in this country and think about why I chose to live in the United States. I realized that this journey was to free me from my own brainwashing. This election became the wake-up call.


Recently, I often recall the last day I returned from Japan to New York. My mother came to the station to see me off. She was watching over me standing on the other side of the station platform until the train arrived. The time of indescribable silence passed until the train arrived and I boarded. The moment the train started moving, I couldn't see my mother waving because of tears. At that time, I foresaw that it might be a long farewell. However I didn't think about covid 19 pandemic at all.


2019 was a busy year and I had a lot of experience, but I didn't have time to digest it. This year, Covid 19 has given me time to explore and think about the various aspects of past events. Biased coverage of mainstream media is terrible, and SNS censorship and information control violate American Freedom speech. While listening to the voice from my heart’s what kind of world I want to live in, and I am gazing at what is happening in the world right now.


Rewind Time: Return to Japan 2  (11/27/2018-1/7/2019)



When I asked my mother what she wanted for her 80th birthday, she told me she wanted to spend the New Year with me. Therefore, I had the New Year 2019 in Japan for the first time in 24 years.


My mother enjoyed her life by volunteering with friends to visit the Elderly Housing to perform dances and songs. After being banned from going out due to Covid19, she spent her time at home decluttering unnecessary things at the house, growing vegetables at the garden, and taking care of my father who had dementia. She has always lived her life brightly and with fun. Thanks to my sister who presented the smartphone to mother.I was able to fill in the time and distance to talk face to face with her.


This stay in Japan began with news of my niece's pregnancy and ended with the news of my uncle's death. I had been Thinking about life and death, and fascinated by the beauty of the starry sky seen from the window on the second floor of my parents' bedroom, and had felt the time due to the ebb and flow of the moon. 


Fukushima Children's Exposure Trial



When I saw the flyer with the word "Ran away" and butterflies and sky design, I felt the commonality with the theme of my work, and felt the inevitability of coming here. Before the Fukushima Children's Exposure Trial began, I handed out the flyers in front of Fukushima Station. It was a surreal moment, and I had the illusion of participating in an art performance.



In 2016, I met Ayako, who was organizing thyroid cancer screening for children in Yaita City and Shioya Town, which were the candidates for a nuclear waste treatment plant at my first time exhibition in my hometown. I heard from her that there is a group that is gathering citizens' voices to make a law to help those exposed in the 311 Fukushima nuclear disaster, and she asked me to join the group of  “Chernobyl Law Japanese Version”. Since then, I've been on their mailing list. 


I went to the children exposure trial in Fukushima and met members of the group, Toshio Yanagihara, an attorney for this trial and Toshiko Okada, an anti-nuclear activist. I was able to talk with Kiyoko Mito, the co-representative, and Sumio Konno, the representative of the plaintiffs. It was an important experience to get information directly from the parties and supporters of this issue.



The Fukushima Children's Exposure Trial, which began in August 2014, has been around for a long time, and the decision was set on March 1, 2021. On the way to the Fukushima court by taking a train, I reconfirmed that my parents' house was close to Fukushima. Next year will be 10 years since the Fukushima accident. Contrary to the fading memory of radiation damage, it still exists and is eroding our bodies. Contrary to the fading memory of radiation damage, it still exists and is contaminating our bodies.


Takagi School 20th Anniversary



For the past few years, every time I return to Japan,  I have learned about nuclear issues by participating in civic lectures by Takagi School.Takagi School was founded in 1998 with the aim of developing "citizen scientists" based on the Right Livelihood Award, which was awarded to anti-nuclear scientist and activist Jinzaburo Takagi before he died of cancer.



In commemoration of the 20th anniversary, there was an event by people who knew Jinzaburo Takagi. I felt that many people inherited his ideas. Guest speaker Arthur Binard talked about nuclear brainwashing under the title "Christmas Gifts from Reactors” while giving the audience an American candy called "Atomic Fireball”. How to convey own thoughts to others is an important issue to deepen mutual understanding. For that purpose, it is necessary to grasp things from multiple directions and convey others in an easy-to-understand and unique way. I thought the key is how to incorporate humanity elements to the topic of science.


Tokorozawa Peace Movement Citizens Group 



In 2015, I met Kohei Numao, a clinical psychologist at the support meeting for the Idogawa trial, which is one of the Fukushima exposure lawsuits. He has been organizing a citizen peace group in Tokorozawa, Saitama. We learned there are common concerns and goal. Every time I returned to Japan, I was given the opportunity to report on my overseas activities at Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture.


Saitama is familiar to me because I spent my childhood in the place where I was born. It was heartwarming to interact with people who understand and support activities that seek to raise awareness of social issues through art. There is  a communication base of the US Air Force near the Aviation Memorial Park at Tokorozawa. Therefore, many residents are highly conscious of peace and are enthusiastic about civic activities.



Takashi Kamogawa, who is the organizer of this area, has a partner, Tamiko, who is from Okinawa. They support the movement against US military bases in Okinawa. Taminko's mother, Takeko who died, was an avid activist. When I heard Tamiko talk about her mother's life, her words reminded me of the Okinawan protesters I met. I felt that the spirit of Okinawa, which protects the dignity of life, is passed down from parents to children through deep love.


"Is it true we are on the road to a war country again ?”


Tuesday December 18, 2018  13: 30-16: 30

Shin-Tokorozawa Community center


"March 1st Movement 100th anniversary" 

CHOI Seungkoo: Japan-Korea, Korea-Japan anti-nuclear peace solidarity secretary general 


Human experimentation of Unit 731 in Biological Warfare

Fuyuko Nishizato: journalist, former German national broadcaster ZDF producer


The US military base in Asia.

Yasuyo Tanaka: Social Practice Artist, Educator



After the event, we ate and interacted with each other. That night, I stayed at the house of Teruko Usami, a war-experienced person, and learned about her experience she transformed from military girl to a peace activist. Being an honor student and a serious girl, she was swallowed by a wave of totalitarianism in the wartime propaganda. 



Our way of thinking is greatly influenced by what kind of information we have. It is important not to be dominated by information, but to actively investigate and disseminate information. Education that cultivates the sensibility and ability to clarify awareness and express own opinion is indispensable.


Make Fuchu an artistic City



Fuchu City, which prospered as a post town centered on shrines, is a calm residential area that left the tradition of Japan. A little far from the center of Fuchu Station, there are the USFJ Fuchu Communications Station managed by the US Air Force, and Fuchu Prison. Fuchu is a multifaceted and interesting city.



For the past few years, "Fuchu Art Festival for living and expression" has been held around Fuchu Station. It has been opening up public markets, shops, restaurants, offices and private houses to display art and hold events.



I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in a three-person exhibition at Gallery Do Do, which introduces contemporary art in Fuchu city. In a unique and attractive exhibition space, I installed works with the theme of keys and houses. Thanks to the gallery owner Tuneo Arase, viewers, and participating artists Naoko and Hideyuki, it was a very nice experience.


In Covid19, the meaning and necessity of the existence of a place is questioned.The work is completed by time, space and people. Even the same work continues to change and grow.



Three persons show: 

Hideyuki Kidawara, Naoko Hobayashi, Yasuyo Tanaka

Saturday December 8 - Monday 24

12: 00-18: 00 Closed on Monday 10th and 17th

Gallery Do Do


Yaita City Local activities



At the Yaita City library, I selected photographs related to my independent research on nuclear issues and related books, and exhibited together.


I happened to find the book In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age by Stephanie Cooke, which I read shortly after 311. Inspired by the hidden information that is one of the themes of this book, I began to investigate the nuclear issue myself. When I was able to see the connections of events happening here and there, I  reached at  hidden information.Two years later, I'm starting to understand what it is as the US presidential election continues.


At the talk event, I introduced examples of overseas cities'  activities using PowerPoint, and discussed with the participants what kind of city they would like to live in and how to realize their wishes. Around this time, I began to think that creating an environment in which I wanted to live was an art in itself.



"Beyond time and space" Exhibition

Tuesday, December 4- Sunday, January 6, 

10: 00-20: 00, last day until 17:00

Yaita City Library Front Lobby


“Creating a Town” Artist Talk

Yasuyo Tanaka

Sunday January 6 

14: 00 ~ 16: 00

Yaita City Library Audiovisual Room


“Discover Tochigi” Exhibition

Saturday December 22 - Monday January 14  

9: 30 ~ 16: 00

Road station Yaita Eco model house”


“Wish Card Making” Workshop

Monday December 24 10: 30 ~ 15: 00

Discovering Sophia's Treasure Mountain Orienteering

Cocomachi 2F Children's Plaza JR Yaita Station East Exit



This year's return to Japan has been canceled by Covid 19, and I feel that the world is undergoing major changes. Many artists have left New York City due to the closure of museums, galleries, and theaters. 


Since 2015, my 16 prints had been exhibited at the Asian language school "Hills Learning" in Midtown. However It closed due to Covid 19, and shifted to only online classes. Last month I brought my works back to my apartment.