Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fukushima Hero

Fukushima Hero IV, oil monoprint on paper, 42 x 30 cm

The fourth work in my Fukushima 50 Series, a contemplation of the anonymous workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Nuclear experts in various parts of the world are saying some of these workers will most certainly die from their radiation exposure. This risk is not incidental. These workers have knowingly worked beyond the safe levels of exposure. TEPCO and the government seem only too willing to allow them to do so.

So in this work i wanted to capture some sense of kamikaze self immolation while at the same time exposing the violence being perpetrated upon these men. It is bloodless, it is technical, it is hidden under hazmat suits. But it is violence nonetheless. It is a suicide mission nonetheless.

The work was made by crushing a paper respirator mask into the wet oil-paint of the monoprint and leaving it in a press for a week under pressure.

I felt this was an apt process, symbolic of the intense and unremitting pressure these men have had to work under - the respirator and hazmat suit iconic of these latter-day samurai.


  1. a great serie Harry, moving and deep, really well done, my congratulations

  2. Hello Harry,
    You've done it again. Another expression of what the world is feeling, but doesn't know quite what to do about it.
    Each one seems more powerful than the last, a sharper dagger stabbing into the heart of this man-made disaster.
    It's as if this tragedy has focused and unleashed all of your pent-up creative energy. I've never been privileged to witness the birth of such relevant, poignant and important art. It is truly a breathtaking experience. I've said it before; This is significant work and it must be seen by the world. If those in charge of the world's major museums fail to grasp the importance of this body of work, they should be dismissed. Hell, Harry, if I could I'd open my own museum dedicated to your work! Better still, they'll get word of these works and respond.
    I can't tell you how impressive these are.

  3. Harry, you are breaking our hearts by opening our eyes and making us look at this more clearly - and this is a good thing. This is a powerful series and I hope you continue with it.

  4. Very powerful work with a message to the world. This is the sort of art that has an important statement to convey. It says more than words could ever hope to. Commendable and thought provoking Harry.

  5. Thank you, Laura.

    Gary, if only the rest of the art world saw it as you do, lol. Thank you for the massive vote of confidence, my friend.

    Thanks, Rhonda. Yes, i think i'll be continuing, but maybe switching from the plant workers to the screening teams with their geiger-counters (which is what orginally drew my attention).

    Welcome to my blog, Geraldo. Enjoyed visiting your powerful yet refined work.

    Thanks, Carolann. I'm not sure i have a message. I'm just expressing how events make me feel. Though that may make others think. Maybe that's a message, lol.

  6. All the best writers and artists write and paint how they feel. As an instance - John Lennon's memorable 'Imagine' and Van Gogh's sun flowers. We share the empathy of their feelings. So yes, that's a message and your concept here has worked.

  7. Um belo e impactante trabalho!!!
    Uma série tocante e intensa!!

  8. Another wonderful work, Harry, and the story of its production even better - apt process indeed! All the best to you, maestro.

  9. Thanks for that thought Carolann.

    I probably don't think things out as much as it seems from my commentary. I just paint from a hunch, a feeling, a few scraps of conviction. Then, when i get to posting the work, i pull my ideas together.
    They seem focused. But they start life as something far more diffuse.

  10. Obrigado, Jaime.

    Acabei de pintar a partir de um palpite, um sentimento, algumas sucatas da condenação. Então, quando eu começar a postar o trabalho, eu puxo as minhas ideias em conjunto. Eles parecem estar concentrados. Mas elas começam a vida como algo muito mais difuso.

  11. Haha, maestro! Love it, Gabriella. I'll have to start wearing a long white scarf and tossing my locks back in an intense manner.

  12. Very moving, painting and words....