Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition: In Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Attacks

ON VIEW: June 13-August 16

Iri and Toshi Maruki, Fire, 1950

The American University Museum, in coordination with the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, is honored to present the atomic bomb exhibition. This powerful show includes twenty some artifacts collected from the debris of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (including a pocket watch and a toddler’s tricycle) as well as the celebrated Hiroshima panels created collaboratively by husband and wife Iri (1901-1995) and Toshi Maruki (1912-2000).

Created over a span of thirty-two years from 1950 onwards, the Maruki’s fifteen Japanese style brush paintings, known collectively as the Hiroshima panels, depict the atrocities endured by the victims of the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings that took place in the final year of World War II (1939-45). The two bombings killed an estimated 200,000 people. Nagasaki was the second and remains the last city to suffer an atomic bomb attack. Many of the survivors of both attacks suffer(ed) physically from the numerous negative side effects of radiation exposure including keloid scars, cancer, cataracts and microcephaly.

While the Marukis’ panels originally began as a form of witness testimony (the couple returned to Hiroshima shortly after the bombing to aid the injured), they evolved overtime into an activist project—drawing attention to the horrors committed and justified during wartime and in particular calling for the abolishment of nuclear weapons.

The above image is the second panel, created by the couple in 1950. Titled Fire, the painting depicts a mass of tormented bodies (including men, women, and children) engulfed in an inescapable conflagration of red-orange flames.

Through the Hiroshima-Nagasaki atomic bomb exhibition the museum hopes to deepen the public’s understanding of the damage wrought by nuclear weapons and inspire peace in the 21st century.


Upcoming events related to the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Exhibit:

August 5th, 7-8:30 pm: Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombings, this evening will include testimony by a Hibakushi (a survivor of the atomic bombings) and performance by the children of Little Friends of Peace


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