Hiroshima Panels VI Atomic Desert

Title: VI Atomic Desert (sixth of the series, Hiroshima Panels)

Creator: Maruki Toshi, Maruki Iri

Date: 1953

Culture: Japanese

Materials: Sumi ink, pigment, glue, charcoal on paper

Dimensions: 180 cm × 720 cm

Repository: Maruki Gallery

“Nothing to eat, no medicine. No shelter from the falling rain. No electricity, no newspapers, no radio, no doctors. Maggots bred on corpses and the wounded, clouds of flies swarmed and buzzed. The smell of corpses hung on the wind.
People were not only injured physically, their spirits were also deeply wounded.
A woman, unmindful of covering her ragged skin, searched for her child. She wandered about for days on end.
Even today, human bones are sometimes unearthed in Hiroshima.” (Maruki Gallery)

This piece is one of 15 paintings from the series The Hiroshima Panels. These paintings, each accompanied by a poem, tell a story from the aftermath of the atomic bombs hitting Hiroshima.

This particular painting predominately shows a vast pile of corpses and bones. There is also a group of people, naked or in ragged clothing, who look onto the pile of bodies. As told in the accompanied text, this could represent the people who searched tirelessly and aimlessly for their loved ones in the aftermath of the bombing.

The use of charcoal gives it a deep black color that commands the mood of the painting. It is clearly a very dark subject matter and the painting shows that with its depictions and it bleak coloring.

References: Maruki Gallery, https://marukigallery.jp/en/hiroshimapanels/

Author: Spencer Crough

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