Activist art for Fukushima

Yoi KawakuboYesterday was the fourth anniversary of the March 11th tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster in Tohoku in northern Japan. To commemorate the event, and to encourage us to question our use of nuclear energy, Art Action UK have mounted a small exhibition at the White Conduit Projects in Islington of artworks centring around nuclear power plants and the Fukushima area.

Art Action UK describes itself as ‘a collective of artists, curators, gallerists and writers who are exploring various means to show solidarity and support for people who have been affected by natural and manmade disasters. The 2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear fallout has been the catalyst for Art Action UK’.

Of the artists participating in the exhibition, perhaps the most significant is Yoi Kawakubo, a photographer who is about to take up a two month London residency in May and June at Husk in Limehouse. His photographs of Fukushima are said to ‘focus on the limits of photographic representation, particularly with reference to nuclear energy and the social impact of the tsunami and nuclear meltdown’.

Yoi Kawakubo

I liked the series of photographs by Chris Wainwright, taken in the Kamaishi area in Iwate Prefecture, of people creating coloured images with signalling lights. Wainwright is lead artist and advisor on a three year project with Future Lab Tohoku to provide a cross disciplinary arts based contribution to the social rebuilding and cultural enhancement in the area.

Chris Wainwright

Chris Wainwright

Kaori Homma’s images are made using lemon juice to invisibly draw the shapes. Heat is then used to expose the images. Her pictures actually represent the Sizewell Power Station, creating a link between Fukushima and ordinary life in the UK.

Kaori Homma

Kaya Hanasaki contributes an image of the giant Lungmen power plant in Taiwan, currently under construction despite local opposition. It contrasts women in the foreground with the looming presence of the power plant behind them.

Kaya Hanasaki

In the basement they’re showing a variety of films. I saw one by Haruka Komori and Natsumi Seo which documents daily life in Rikuzentakata as the process of rebuilding goes on.

Haruko Komori and Hatsumi Seo

The exhibition is at the White Conduit Projects in Islington, close to Angel Tube. It continues until 15th March and the gallery is open Thursday to Saturday 11am  to 7pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm.

White Conduit Gallery

10 thoughts on “Activist art for Fukushima

  1. Despite the accident, I am genuinely surprised that Japan is intending to give up nuclear power. I thought the energy needs would win out. My perception is that public attitude turned around very quickly. Disaster would do that I suppose.

    There is not a lot of enthusiasm in recent decades for the nukes in the US. — California especially has not been building them. However, nuclear is making a slow comeback here.


  2. Art is a powerful and effective vehicle for spreading important messages. This exhibition is a great example for continuing the debate on nuclear power.


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