Hiroshima Panel: VIII Relief

Relief, 1950

Iri Maruki and Toshi Maruki, Japanese

Sumi ink, charcoal, or conté on paper
180 × 720 cm

On August 6th, 1945 the bombing in Hirashima led to the deaths of over 100,000 people destroying the city. The siblings made their way from Tokyo to Hiroshima to pay tribute to their deceased family members and did not begin to visually manifest the horrific scene until 3 years later. Relief is the second of 15 large-scale paintings, which are accompanied by a short poem explaining the subject depicted. Reading the scene from right to left, the red pigments consumes those laying and a family seems to be on their knees praying. In the remaining panels, people begin to emerge from the fire helping each other to safety away from the fire. Two men are carrying a mother and her child while two other men are pulling a carriage with people on it. The Poem that accompanied this painting loosely translates to:

The fires burned and burned.
People from the countryside came to search for relatives and carried them out of the city. Many died along the way.
Long lines formed to receive rations. A girl died nearby, still clutching her portion of hardtack.
Glass shards were embedded throughout the bodies of the parents of our sister’s husband. Their ankles swelled as large as their thighs. They had taken refuge in our home, and we decided to take them to their eldest son. We placed them on a cart and pulled it all the way to Kaita, passing through the center of the blast. A gentle rain was falling.
After the bomb, it rained often in Hiroshima. Even though it was August, one cold day followed another.
Someone told us amid sobs, “I left my mother. I cried, ‘Forgive me!’” In the frantic effort to escape, wives and husbands had to abandon each other, parents had to desert their children.
Many days passed before relief was organized.



Author: Isma Mora

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