Giant watercolor captures devastation of Fukushima nuclear disaster

SENDAI–A giant image of a destroyed reactor building in a nuclear wasteland is drawing crowds at the Sendai Mediatheque cultural hall in Aoba Ward here.

Titled “Kyodaiga de Egakareru Fukushima” (Fukushima drawn in a huge picture), the watercolor of the Fukushima nuclear disaster by Hiroshige Kagawa is 5.4 meters high and 16.4 meters wide.
Kagawa, 37, is a native of Miyagi Prefecture.

The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated the prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima.

“I want to provide an opportunity for people in Miyagi Prefecture to think about Fukushima,” said Kagawa, who added that the painting portrays the anger he felt when he visited the vicinity surrounding the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after the onset of the disaster.
Kagawa first began making watercolors on a large scale in 2003.

One of the painter’s relatives died in the tsunami. Kagawa said his grandmother could not be located after the tsunami swept through the coastal city of Natori in Miyagi Prefecture. He searched for her by bicycle and she was later found to be safe.

Based on those experiences, he began to paint large watercolor depictions of areas that were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.

“As an artist from an affected area, I must paint what I feel,” he said.
 One of those paintings is “Yuki ni Tsutsumareru Hisaichi” (A disaster-affected area covered with snow).

“By looking back on the disaster through art, we will be able to move forward strongly,” he said during an exhibition of the painting in Sendai in January 2012.

The exhibition of “Kyodaiga de Egakareru Fukushima” at Sendai Mediatheque will run until Aug. 17.


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