Eighth-grade students from Chicago’s Polaris Charter Academy, led by teacher Carrie Moy, recently exhibited their atomic bomb themed artwork at 345 Art Gallery. Ms. Moy’s class spends the entire year studying the atomic bomb, and the class collaborated with the Japanese Culture Center in Chicago to express through art what they learned.
The art exhibit came about after the class visited the Center’s “Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition,” which was held in October 2016 and used materials on loan from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. After a discussion with Japanese Culture Center Director Saira Chambers about Hiroshima-Nagasaki, the class decided to put on their own exhibition. Ms. Chambers visited their classroom and helped the students work through and express their ideas.
Gallery 345 is run by a Chicago police officer, who donated the space to the community to hold events. According to its website, the gallery is meant to be “a space to showcase art as a form of social engagement.”
The students received copies of “Paper Crane Journey” from ANT-Hiroshima during the gallery event. Ms. Chambers said the students were grateful for the books and happy to “know there were people listening to them far away.”
The Japanese Culture Center plans to collaborate with the class again for August 6 commemoration events, as well as continue working with Ms. Moy’s classes in future years.
DePaul University Professor Yuki Miyamoto also attended the exhibition. Professor Miyamoto teaches classes on the atomic bomb and takes a group of students on a study trip to Hiroshima and Nagasaki every other year. The humble writer of this blog met her when she brought her students to the UNITAR Hiroshima Office last December.
Ms. Chambers is passionate about sharing what she’s learned about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the atomic bomb. She said, “Chicago also has a deep history with the atomic bomb, and there is a community of dedicated advocates for knowledge and understanding of the topic here.” As the Center’s director, she supports “anyone who wishes to learn about this part of our collective past and how to make this a positive lesson for the future.”
Last year a delegation of Philippino Youth Leaders came to Japan as part of a peace study group. Earlier this year Tomoko Watanabe of ANT-Hiroshima visited Mindanao Island as part of a fact finding tour and ANT-Hiroshima hopes to become more involved in peace and reconciliation work in The Philippines as a result.
The activity was a joint effort organized by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), Ifugao State University and various Japanese and Philippino NGOs such as the Cordillera Green Network.
A group of Hiroshima residents also took part in the activity as “resource personnel” who helped with the various lectures during the ten day event.
The Hiroshima Flower Festival, held during the “Golden Week” holiday in early May every year since 1977, attracts over a million people. The festival is held on Peace Boulevard, which runs on an East-West axis across the city. Half way along its course, Peace Boulevard passes Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park .
During the festival there are parades, concerts, dance, fashion and talk shows with both local citizens and celebrities taking part.
This year supporters of the “YES! Hiroshima-Nagasaki Giteisho” (or “YES Campaign”) were also present at the Flower Festival campaigning for support for the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol for a nuclear-weapon-free world by 2020. They were joined by artist Seitaro Kuroda who has been actively supporting the YES! Campaign through his art work and who drew pictures and created some artwork at the Flower Festival to attract passers-by.
Here is a video of the YES! Campaign in action at the Flower Festival:
The book is being promoted by a group of A-bomb survivors (hibakusha) who are touring Japan in order to publicize the protocol. So far they have visited Hokkaido, Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Hyogo, Okayama, Tottori, and Shimane.
According to Maeko Nobumoto, secretary general of the group, they are “sensing the growing momentum for nuclear abolition.”
The “Yes! Campaign” wants the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol to be adopted at the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May 2010. They are planning to lobby the Japanese government in the hope that the government will agree to ask the conference to discuss the protocol.
The “Yes! Campaign” book includes the text of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol and is illustrated throughout by the well known artist, Seitaro Kuroda.
If you would like a copy of the “Yes! Campaign” book, please contact ANT-Hiroshima at: email@example.com.
This week David (who runs the ANT-Hiroshima blog) distributed Hiroshima-Nagasaki YES! Campaign For The Abolition Of Nuclear Weapons By 2020″ booklets to his students at two community centres in Hiroshima, Suzugamine Kominkan and Ajina-Dai Kominkan.
David is a Hiroshima-based freelance English teacher who also works part time for ANT-Hiroshima. The YES! Campaign booklet has both English and Japanese texts as well as illustrations by Seitaro Kuroda, a famous contemporary Japanese artist. The books provided a good talking point for reading and discussion in the classes.
The two photos in this blog report are of English students in class at Ajina-Dai Kominan with their copies of the YES! Campaign booklet.
If you would be interested in distributing some copies of the YES! Campaign booklet, please contact the ANT-Hiroshima office at firstname.lastname@example.org.