Tomie Arai

PORTRAIT  OF  AICHI

1984

Acrylic On Paper

Curator: Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center

FOUR WHITE OFFICERS ACQUITTED

OF BEATING A BLACK MAN: VIOLENCE ERUPTS

1992

Wood & Mixed Media

Curator: Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center

Tomie Arai

"Nuclear Portrait Series"

Artists Statement, 1983

Since the devastation of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, the photographed, Xeroxed and drawn image of the atomic bomb serves as a constant reminder that we are now living in a nuclear world; a world that might end as suddenly and senselessly for us, as it did for thousands of Japanese that August day in 1945. Whether we choose to recognize the dnager of nuclear war or not, our environment, lifestyles, sense of social responsibility; even our hope for our children have been altered irreversibly by the existence of nuclear weapons and mankind's capacity to use them.

The mushroom cloud image of the bomb intrudes into this portrait in much the same way that the bomb has intruded into our lives; spoiling our dreams for the future and forcing us to live two lives, one for responding to our nuclear predicament and one for not responding. The necessity to take notice and stop going about business as usual is the theme of this series.

"The Nuclear Portrait" series was comprised of 10 portraits of friends and family, featuring this portrait of Aichi Kochiyama, an activist, mother, taiko player and friend who passed away in 1989. In a post 9/11 world, fierce optimism in the face of terrible devastation is even more essential for our survival. Of all the portraits I drew, this portrait of my friend Aichi seemed to capture this spirit of determination best.

Tomie Arai, NYC 2005