Photographers Remember Fukushima Earthquake on 5th Year Anniversary

March 15, 2016

Currently on view at New York's Japan Society is a commemorative exhibition, In the Wake: Japanese Photographers respond to 3/11, for the 5th anniversary of the Fukushima Earthquake in Northern Japan.  With 18,000 deaths, 400,000 displacements, a nuclear meltdown and  extraordinary flooding, the cataclysmic event has changed the lives and landscape of Japan with profound weight.  It has become the most photographed disaster in history.

Photographers Rinko Kawauchi, a native to Shiga just east of Kyoto, and Lieko Shiga from Aichi, are among many other photographs with all differing viewpoints of the devastation. 

Rinko Kawauchi, Still from   Light and Shadow  , 2011 -   "In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11" at Japan Society, New York

Rinko Kawauchi, Still from Light and Shadow, 2011 - "In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11" at Japan Society, New York

Kawauchi took accounts of her photographing with writing.  She shares, “Standing there for a while, I considered the smallness of my existence; so small that even a gust of wind could have blown me away.”  The photographs on exhibit show two pigeons flying above what looks like a ground-zero of bomb warfare. 

Lieko Shiga,  Mother's Gentle Hands , 2009. Japan Society.

Lieko Shiga, Mother's Gentle Hands, 2009. Japan Society.

Shiga, on the other hand, focuses on individual lives in a small town of Kitakama.  Of the 380 person population 53 were lost in the disaster.  Shiga has a staged approach to the portraiture to convey the culture of the town.  

According to Shiga, her photographs are “'unconsciously connected' to the specific events of 3/11, [and meant to] bring a mesmerizing spell of spiritual transcendence and catharsis to the trauma of mass destruction."

The exhibition will be on view from 11 March through 12 June, 2016 at the Japan Society in New York City.

Read the artsy article HERE.

Add a comment