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Tsunami witness brings 'Voices From Japan'
When: Opening reception and gallery talk, 6 p.m. Monday, March 25, runs through April 6.
Where: I.D.E.A. Space, Cornerstone Arts Center, Colorado College, 825 N. Cascade Ave.,
Tickets: Free; 389-6607, coloradocollege.edu/ideaspace
All free and located in Colorado College; 389-6607, coloradocollege.edu/ideaspace
“Tapestries of Apocalypse — From Angers to ‘Nausicaa’ and Beyond”: lecture by Susan Napier, professor of the Japanese program at Tufts University, 11:15 a.m. Monday, Armstrong Hall, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St.
Screening of the anime film “Ponyo”: with introduction by Susan Napier, 4 p.m. Monday, Film Screening Room, Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.
“Witnessing the Aftermath — A Panel Discussion”: With witnesses to the Tohoku region earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters, 4 p.m. Tuesday, Film Screening Room, Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.
“Voices From Japan Translated — A Panel Discussion”: discussion of the tanka poems from the exhibit, 4 p.m. Thursday, Film Screening Room, Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.
“Geology of the Region — A Panel Discussion”: 4 p.m. March 29, Film Screening Room, Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.
“Reconstruction of Tohoku Region — Screening of Two Films: includes “Can You See Our Lights? First Festival After the Tsunami” and “Fukushima Hula Girls,” 3-6 p.m. March 30, Film Screening Room, Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.
Sounds of “Voices From Japan” Concert: with Donna Tatsuki, Kanji Wakiyama and Claudia Pintaudi, and the world premiere of a song based on poetry from the exhibit, 7 p.m. March 30 and 3 p.m. March 31, Packard Hall, 5 W. Cache La Poudre St.A reception will follow both shows, March 30, Packard Hall; March 31, Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.
“Environmental Ethics — A Panel Discussion”: 4 p.m. April 4, Film Screening Room, Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.
How do we move forward after devastation and tragedy leaves its mark on us?
Joan Ericson, a Colorado College professor who teaches Japanese literature, language and culture courses, received a taste of tragedy two years ago. She and her husband witnessed first-hand the ravages of the earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear disasters in Japan’s Tohoku region in spring 2011.
She was studying the history of Japanese children’s literature while there on a year-long sabbatical from teaching. Safe in their home in Kyoto, word came to turn on the TV.
“We were glued to the TV, watching news. Tsunami waves are unbelievably forceful: They swept cars, houses and large ships along in their wake,” she wrote in an email interview. “These disasters caused me to rethink priorities and be more aware of how we take so much for granted.”
So when she learned of Isao Tsujimoto’s “Voices from Japan: Perspectives on Disaster and Hope,” a traveling multimedia exhibit that debuted in New York City last summer, she felt compelled to bring it here. The exhibit is composed of photos of Tohoku, sketches of homeless survivors, photo collages of unclaimed family photos, calligraphy and a film based on the poems and photos. She found it especially timely in the wake of our own recent disaster: the Waldo Canyon Fire.
The exhibit opens at the I.D.E.A. Space at Cornerstone Arts Center on Monday.
“I’d like viewers to learn more about Japan and the three disasters of two years ago,” Ericson writes. “But perhaps more importantly, I’d like to show also how literature and the arts can provide a means of expression for those who continue to suffer from disaster.”
Jessica Hunter-Larsen, curator of the I.D.E.A. Space, was attracted to the exhibit for similar reasons.
“I always ask myself what can the arts tell us about something that you can’t know from any other source?” Hunter-Larsen says. “If you want somebody to know about tsunami devastation, why wouldn’t you just tell them? What is it about writing a poem, what can we learn from them that we can’t in any other way? I found that appealing about this project, that it demonstrates there is information and emotional content that helps us understand what others have experienced.”
What Ericson witnessed two years ago marked her indelibly, and left her with a desire to help the suffering Japanese people. Her contribution came when she and two other translators transformed tanka (31-syllable Japanese poems), which were written by Japanese citizens in response to the tsunami, into English. One hundred tanka will be part of the exhibit.
The exhibit is part of an interdisciplinary project, which uses a number of different mediums to look at one topic. It includes a dance performance, films, speakers and panel discussions, origami and the world premiere of a song based on selected poems. A portion of the exhibit will include poetry, photos and art work by local citizens in response to last summer’s fire.
Jennifer Mulson may be reached at 636-0270.