12 December 2011 – 31 January 2012
Embassy of Japan, 101/104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT
Admission free; Monday to Friday; 09:30 to 17:30
Visitors are requested to present a form of photographic identification when entering the Embassy.
This month, the Embassy of Japan will host a small exhibition with a rather poignant message.
After the major earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Tohoku region of north-eastern Japan on 11 March 2011, power supplies, telephone land lines and mobile telephone networks were cut and internet access became impossible.
This made it extremely difficult for people to contact family and friends. The Japanese postal service – Japan Post – was, however, quickly up and running again. It was by postcard, in many cases, that people first heard that their loved ones were safe.
Sculptors, Katagiri Hironori and Kate Thomson, share their time between Iwate and Scotland. They were working in their studios in the countryside of Iwate when the immense earthquake of 11 March 2011 struck. Their home and studio inland were not damaged and they were safe, but they were desperately worried about family and friends along the Tohoku coast. In the days after the quake, power and telephone connections slowly returned. Despite the telephone lines’ being restored, however, they could still not get through to anyone.
Inspired by the impact that the receiving of postcards can have, Katagiri and Thomson invited Tohoku-based artists from Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Aomori prefectures to make new work for Postcards From Japan – A Message from Tohoku Artists. Even artists who had lost so much in the tsunami were enthusiastic to celebrate life through art with their communication with the world outside. The results are works made especially for this exhibition and which give an insight into the incredible grace and resilience of the people of North East Japan.
The priority in the devastated regions is to rebuild communities and livelihoods and the recovery will take years. Art and culture will play vital roles in this recovery and in celebrating life itself, helping to nurture imagination, energy and the determination to move on. Many people in Japan have realised that family, friends and communities are their most precious treasures and that they require and deserve the most time and investment. Cherishing the relationships they have, people are re-establishing contact with those with whom they had lost touch.
The project continues and in response, artists from around the world are being invited to make ‘Postcards to Japan’ and post them to Tohoku as tangible messages of support to communities affected by the devastation.
Please see www.postcardproject.org for more information.