High school students complete 16 paintings based on A-bomb testimonies

by Kensuke Murashima, Staff Writer

Sixteen second- and third-year students at Hiroshima Municipal Motomachi Senior High School have completed paintings inspired by testimonies from A-bomb survivors. The paintings will be displayed at the school, at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and then on other occasions, such as times when A-bomb survivors share their accounts of the bombing.

The 16 paintings include one that depicts a scene in which survivors are flocking to a river and another showing a girl holding her father’s ashes. Yuko Tatsukawa, 17, painted a scene where the wounded are being placed on a truck. “I based the image on drawings made by the survivor I spoke with,” she explained. “I paid a lot of attention to painting the skin.”

Rena Kubo, 18, spent a long time working on the surface of the river in her painting. A survivor told her that “The flames reflecting off the river made it look red.” So she painted it, over and over, in shades of red and brown to make it resemble the river described by the survivor. Natsumi Mito, 16, met roughly ten times with another survivor while working on her painting. Looking back on the process of creating this work, she remarked, “There were so many things I didn’t know about the bombing when I began.”

Peace Memorial Museum has appealed for the creation of such “A-bomb art” as a way of handing down the experiences of the A-bomb survivors. In pairs, the 16 students met regularly with eight survivors since the fall of 2007 and they put their finishing touches on the paintings in May.

On June 6, they invited Koichiro Maeda, Director of Peace Memorial Museum, and the A-bomb survivors involved in their project to view the completed paintings. The paintings will be unveiled to the general public at a school festival on July 5.

(Originally published on June 6, 2008)