The Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Project traveled to 3 cities in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Honolulu and Berkeley) and 3 cities in Japan (Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Osaka).

At all the venues, the exhibition was supported by local community groups backed by their local leaders. The exhibitions were all accompanied by community and educational programs, and in San Francisco and Honolulu, site-specific dance performances were created for the exhibit. This highly moving performance created for the exhibition by the Iona Pear Dance Theatre (now known as the Iona Contemporary Dance Theater) took place in conjunction with the exhibition at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Project

This was an installation of 35 paper sculptures created after a visit to Hiroshima on a trip to Japan for a papermaking conference in 1983. The project was presented in 3 cities in the US and 3 in Japan in 1994/95. My intention was not, simply, to travel my artwork to a broader audience, but to use these artworks as a form of social action in an attempt to bring closure for the Japanese people on the 50th Anniversary of the bombings and to open discussions of the specter of global annihilation. I didn’t realize how raw the wounds still were on both sides. I was the only American doing a special project in Japan on the 50th anniversary of the bombings. (Sandy)

…yet art has always had the power to heal. This healing of the wound that still separates Japan and America is the task that the artist Sandy Bleifer has undertaken. …and [Bleifer] does not intend to second-guess history, passing judgments about the morality of dropping atomic bombs upon people of color. Instead the artist wishes simply to acknowledge the suffering of the Japanese. Only by facing their suffering can Americans begin the healing process – for the Japanese people and ourselves.
– J.S.M. Willette, Visions Magazine, PROFILE: THE ARTIST AS A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD, The Healing of Hiroshima in the Art of Sandy Bleifer

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Video

When I returned from Japan in 1995, I became caught up in the revitalization of downtown and, empowered by my experience in Japan, I got involved in projecting a vision of what our historic center of the City could become. My efforts were modeled after Christo’s grass roots community outreach used to launch his projects. I decided to try to inspire the reuse of heritage properties downtown by using photography to illustrate the potential of the buildings.


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