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Boston University Art Galleries presents Hiroshima bombing panels & artifacts
Iri Maruki and Toshi Maruki, Petition X, 1955. Paper, Indian Ink, Coloring, 180 x 720 cm. Courtesy of the Maruki Gallery for the Hiroshima Panels.



BOSTON, MASS.- In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, A Call for Peace presents six of the fifteen Hiroshima Panels by Iri and Toshi Maruki alongside artifacts collected from the bombing sites. The Marukis, Nobel Peace Prize nominees in 1995, produced the paintings over 30 years and were the subject of the 1986 Academy Award nominated documentary Hellfire: A Journey from Hiroshima. The panels represent recollections from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “where hell and the modern age fused in August 1945.” These impressive pieces are famous through Japan and have been exhibited in more than 20 nations worldwide.

The Boston University College of Fine Arts' presentation includes an installation of 26 artifacts from the bombing sites at Hiroshima and Nagasaki provided by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Iri And Toshi Maruki
The married couple is best known for their joint paintings created between 1950 and 1982 depicting the horrors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both professional painters before 1945, Iri Maruki worked in a traditional style of Japanese monochromatic ink painting while Toshi Maruki trained in a Western style oil technique and favored book illustration. Immediately after reading the news that a new kind of bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Iri, who grew up in Hiroshima and still had family there, journeyed to witness the devastating aftermath and assist the survivors. Toshi followed shortly afterwards. Unable to forget the suffering they witnessed, the two began to paint their monumental panels. Originally a means of expressing the trauma the artists felt, the painting effort was soon invigorated with the energy of an activist project. With the artists working for hours on end together and often painting right over each other’s work, the collaboration was often tempestuous, but the final result is artistically dynamic and emotionally expressive. Initially criticized by audiences and critics alike for what was seen as an inappropriateness of subject, the panels found a unique resonance for survivors of the bombing who found their voices in the grim yet hopeful images. The pair would later expand their project beyond the atomic bombings to horrors of war, depicting the Rape of Nanking (1975) as well as the Prisoners of Auschwitz (1977). Maruki Toshi explained, “We do paint dark, cruel, painful scenes. But the question is, how should we portray people who face such realities? We want to paint them beautifully.”










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