Japanese children send Australia a visual 'thank you'
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Japanese school children devastated by their country's 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis are thanking Australia for its support in the most visual way possible - an exhibition of their future dreams for Japan.
More than 80 pictures drawn by Fukushima children will be unveiled at the University of Adelaide next Wednesday 17 October when 'My Dream of 10 Years from Now: Thank You from Japan' is launched in the Barr Smith Library.
The exhibition, which also features about 20 graphic news photographs telling the story of the "triple disasters" (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear explosion), is a visual expression of thanks to the Australian people for the sympathy and support provided in one of Japan's darkest hours.
On 11 March 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake hit Tohoku in north east Japan with the resulting tsunami engulfing towns and fields and causing nuclear accidents in Fukushima.
More than 20,000 people lost their lives, 1.1 million houses were damaged or destroyed and more than 340,000 people still live as evacuees today.
Australia was one of 160 countries which took part in the rescue efforts, providing financial aid, equipment and volunteer workers to help Japan recover from one of the greatest human tragedies in recent history.
The exhibition, which runs from 17 October to 14 December, is being organised by the University of Adelaide's Art & Heritage Collections in partnership with the University's School of Social Sciences and the Consulate-General of Japan in Melbourne.
The launch will also feature a panel of speakers discussing Japan's triple disasters, the responses, the relief effort and reflections of this cataclysmic event.
Speakers include Professor Kent Anderson, the Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) at the University of Adelaide; Professor Purnendra Jain and Dr Shoko Yoneyama from the University's Discipline of Asian Studies; volunteer/lawyer Mr Paul Bilney; and Mrs Keiko Egusa, Director, Japan Information Centre, Consulate-General of Japan in Melbourne.
"The triple disasters hit children as hard as adults," Professor Anderson said. "Many lost their lives, whereas others lost family members, friends and pets, homes, schools and teachers. Yet despite the trauma, this exhibition shows they are optimistic about the future and have a resilience and strength which is remarkable."
The exhibition is being held in Rare Books and Special Collections, Level 1, Barr Smith Library on the University of Adelaide's North Terrace Campus. It will be launched from 12.30pm-2pm on Wednesday 17 October.