Japan: Art against Terror

Japan finds solace from the tremors, horrors and terrors that befell it last week through art.  Two articles this morning have once again proven the importance of art as a way to overcome terror.   Terror in this case is not man-made, although the subject remains open for debate if one takes into account the catastrophe happening at the nuclear plants. 

What is one to do when faced with so much desolation and ruins as are the Japanese people today?  Unsurprisingly,  Art seems to be a source of relief, in different yet not exclusive ways. 
Richard Tobin, co-founder of the Tobin Ohashi Art Gallery in Tokyo, reports for The Diplomat on the contemporary Art Scene, the emerging trends and artists in the Asia Pacific.  He perfectly describes the mood in Tokyo in his article "Tokyo Searching for Comfort",  that appeared this morning in the Diplomat - http://bit.ly/i3wwys .  According to 'Bob' one does not even have to understand the language the language to feel the difference in the conversations between people.  There's no laughter, they are short and the subjects of most concern to all are not touched upon, not in denial, but out of sheer fear and exhaustion, "as if talking about it will make it more real".  He saw people venture into his gallery, that has remained  opened, in order and look for solace and to escape their ordeal , even if but for a few stolen moments.  They recognized the potential Art gave them to evade or put the endless days that each come with their share of terror and horror between brackets for seconds, minutes or hours at a time.  As robert reports, people turn to art for its "healing and calming effects", but also because "Art has the potential to bring us to another world and help us forget" . 

Pictures from Tobin Ohashi Gallery Homepage - http://www.tobinohashi.com/wp/en/gallery/

Today's NYTimes has also published an article presenting three well-known Japanese graphic Artists who drew scenes from the Tsunami - http://nyti.ms/ewsBUf.
Yoshihiro Tatsumi, widely credited mangaka; Yuichi Yokoyama, comic creator and Tatsuro Kiuchi, a Biology student turned Illustrator. 

Picture from the NYT - http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/20/opinion/20110320_Opart_Japan.html?ref=global-home

Tatsuro has decided to bring his Art a step further in helping his fellow countrymen by selling three of his images to raise donations for Japan directly through the Red Cross.  Ever conscious Tatsuro concludes his note to with a thought  for Japan's postal resouces "I am selling my original data instead of prints because I would like to save the postal resources of Japan. Thank you. " - http://tatsurokiuchi.com/

Art in the form of Literature as another way of escaping.  This year's winner of  the "Premi Internacional Catalunya" is none other than Haruki Murakami.  The prestigious prize is awarded annually by the Catalan Government to "individuals who have contributed decisively with their work to develop cultural, scientific and human values around the world".   The author sent an e-mail to the Catalan Government thanking them for the award and hopes the prize "will act as a special way of supporting and giving strength to Japan.

Murakami and his family escaped unscathed from the devastation as they were not in Japan when the earthquake and subsequent tsunami happened.
He had alreay touched the devastating effects of natural catastrophes befalling his countrymen in his book the wrote in the aftermath of the earthquake in Kobe "After the Quake".  There he examines the effects of the catastrophe  "obliquely, from within his own infinitely nuanced metaphysical world" with restraint almost and always elegantly reminding one of the uniquely dignified way in which the Japanese people  have been enduring their ordeal. 

AldavidA - 20/03/11


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