12 July - 23 September 2005
This mixed media exhibition is inspired by classic manga (Japanese comic) Barefoot Gen, the vivid autobiographical story of artist Keiji Nakazawa who was only seven years old when the Atomic Bomb destroyed his home city of Hiroshima. The manga unveils his family's struggle for survival in the aftermath of the atomic devastations. After Hiroshima: Nuclear Imaginaries is timed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of this tragic time of man's inhumanity to man and when Japan suffered the use of a newly created weapon of mass destruction.
The date was 6 August 1945. Nuclear consciousness in the arts has proliferated since the atomic attack on Japan, becoming a visual culture of global dimensions, incorporated science-fiction dystopian narratives of destruction and fall-out in comics, cartoons, multi-media, performance, painting, sculpture, graphic design photography and film. The symbolic order of the nuclear age has undergone recent transformation with the arrival of new narratives and metaphors of nuclear threat since the Cold War and with the new fictions involving 'War on Terror', rogue atomic states, depleted uranium, and dirty bombs. A global threat, with local affects, has motivated new aesthetic responses to a new culture of annihilation, and plotting the boundary between nuclear fiction and reality in narratives of heroism and nihilism, resignation and resistance, paranoia and paralysis.
After Hiroshima: Nuclear Imaginaries offers insights into the aftermath of these events through the work of the artists from Japan: Kanemaru Kazuia, Mutsumi Tsuda and Keiji Usami, and from England: Alexis Hunter, Jacqueline Morreau, Mircea Roman and Tolleck Winner. Alongside their work will be the Peace Tent an installation created by young people (from Positive Activities for Young People, Ealing Youth and Connexions Service) working with the artist Eric Fong and over 100 'mail art works' from artists around the world who were invited to explore current visions of nuclear weapons in the 20th and 21st centuries, and in particular nuclear fictions since 1991.
There will also be a one-day symposium on visual culture and nuclearisation held at The School of African and Oriental Studies, London on 24th Sept 2005.