In March 2011 the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake devastated North Eastern Tohoku. The problems surrounding the tsunami devastation and ensuing nuclear disaster are still so overwhelming.
Long-term recovery is ongoing, and many complicated problems have arisen in the affected areas. Unfortunately as the date 3/11 sinks further into the past, international attention and support are lessening.
In the area of Tōhoku, previously providing 20% of the nation’s rice crop, problems from long before the earthquake have also become more drastic. Social withdrawal and high suicide rates affect the depopulated and shuttered shopping streets, and the contrasting over-populated areas.
The Field Trip project is a travelling exhibition in Japan and Asia. The project curator Daisuke Takeya re-claimed used elementary school backpacks (Randoseru) donated through the relief efforts, which were due to be disposed of. These objects, to me, are highly charged and symbolic. I was one of the artists challenged to create a Randoseru artwork for the Field Trip Asia exhibition, to be showcased next month at Shinjuku Creators Festa, (Tokyo, August 22 – September 7 2014). The project is currently travelling through Canada and has been to the disaster areas in Tohoku.
Field Trip participants have taken part in initiatives, having interactions with people and hearing history and stories.
Field Trip is now at the next stage, aiming to expand to also function as a relief activity to support recovery at various disaster affected areas. This is a disaster relief, humanitarian, community building, and international exchange project, which I am proud to be part of. There will be more information on the next steps for this project soon.
Pictured below: Me with my backpack or ‘Randoseru’…. sneak peek artwork images coming soon!