Dealing with Disasters through Art: Japanese Artists and Their Strategies

Third Thursday lecture - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 17 November, 2022
6:00pm GMT - 7:00pm GMT

Online lecture, via Zoom.
50 min lecture followed by Q&A.
Free and open to all, booking essential.
To check your time zone conversion if you are joining from outside the UK, click here.


Professor Hans Bjarne Thomsen (Section for East Asian Art University of Zurich)

About the Talk

The main focus of my talk is to show how art responds to disasters. Japan has been exposed to all kinds of disasters over the past centuries, including earthquakes, tsunamis, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, catastrophic fires, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, world wars, and so on. I would like to explore how Japanese artists have responded to such events and how art can sometimes dramatize catastrophes, make them easy to digest, filter them through humor and other emotions, and even help heal trauma and pain. Over the centuries and into the present, Japanese artists have responded by creating a wide range of innovative solutions for dealing with disasters.

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The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Yakult UK.