Exhibition: Paintings From Hiroshima
Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
Date: 5 – 13 Aug 2015
Venue: Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle (entrance facing Regent’s Park), London NW1 4QP
This year in August will be the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An Englishman, Mike Stevenson, has in his possession two collections of art works made by children in Japan in the aftermath of World War II. The 34 works in one collection were made by students of a Christian girls’ school in Hiroshima, which suffered the deaths of over 300 students. The school building was destroyed, but it was said to be the first to re-open following the atomic bombing of that city.
The second set comprises 29 artworks by Japanese schoolchildren collected under the auspices of UNESCO in the 1950s by Dr. Takuo Matsumoto, the Principal of Hiroshima Girls School. UNESCO’s programme for art education recognised the need to foster co-operation through exchanges of children’s artworks of the member countries to promote international harmony.
“The paintings seems to stand as a very moving testimony to the need we all have to record our responses to the world we live in through the arts. They show a concern with things that are simple and familiar to their creators, which has characterised a great deal of art through many centuries and from many cultures. References to the dreadful experiences through which many of the students must have lived are surprisingly few.” (Mike Stevenson)
The Daiwa Foundation is exhibiting the works as a form of commemoration and remembrance of the Second World War and of the atomic bombs in the year of their 70th anniversary.
Some of the works have recently been displayed at the Houses of Parliament. This coincided with an event where an atomic bomb survivor from Hiroshima gave an account of her experiences of the bombing to a House of Lords committee: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/17/national/history/hibakusha-takes-skype-relate-hiroshima-bombing-experience-u-k-parliament/#.Vb9KavlVhHy
Mike Stevenson trained at Liverpool College of Art, where he gained the National Diploma in Design in Sculpture and then undertook teacher training at Manchester College of Art. He initially taught in secondary schools and was head of an art department, before moving into primary education, eventually becoming Head of an experimental primary school. He was appointed as Curriculum Development Leader for Visual Arts in Manchester. Stevenson then subsequently worked as an adviser and inspector, responsible for developing art, design and technology education in the schools and colleges of a Local Education Authority.
He ended his career as a General Education Adviser responsible for improving school performance. www.mikestevensonart.co.uk