ひろしま hiroshima by Ishiuchi Miyako features an installation of 48 photographs by Ishiuchi Miyako of clothing and accessories left behind by victims of the 1945 atomic bomb at Hiroshima. Unlike the black-and-white images of devastated landscapes often associated with the bombing, Ishiuchi’s colour photographs capture her own moments of encounter with everyday objects that are now preserved at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Testaments to a profound trauma, her images at once illuminate the beauty and complexity of individual lives, and the weight of collective history.
Born in 1947 in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, Ishiuchi began her artistic career in the late 1970s and is now one of that country’s leading contemporary photographers. This is the first exhibition of Ishiuchi’s ひろしま hiroshima series outside Japan.
A note about the artist’s name and the exhibition title: The artist is referred to as Ishiuchi Miyako, or Ishiuchi (not Miyako Ishiuchi or Miyako). ひろしま means Hiroshima, written in Japanese hiragana characters. Hiragana is one basic component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana. These characters were extensively used by women in former times; for Ishiuchi, using this style for the title emphasizes that this series is made from the point of view and feelings of a woman. It is the artist’s wish that that the hiragana appears before the word ‘hiroshima’ as part of MOA’s exhibition title, and that the ‘h’ in Hiroshima not be capitalized.
Exhibition sponsored in part by Shiseido and the Japan Foundation. Media sponsor The Georgia Straight.