Catastrophe and the Power of Art
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Recent decades have seen a series of catastrophes around the world - from 9/11 in 2001 to the global financial crisis of 2008, to Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Many artists have produced work dealing with these tragic events, in an endeavor to inform the wider world of them and to ensure their stories are passed down to future generations. Unlike media coverage, with its emphasis on objectivity, such work from a personal perspective presents to us another kind of truth, difficult to discern in the shadow of public opinion. Such work may also be designed to expose contradictions and cover-ups in wider society, or express personal loss and grief. Catastrophe and crisis can drive us to despair, yet it is also true that the energy released as we try to recover can simultaneously spark imagination and boost creative output. The large cohort of artists from Japan and elsewhere has been striving for a better society since the 2011 earthquake; attempting to offer a new vision of the future, depicting ideals and the hope of reconstruction and rebirth. “Catastrophe and the Power of Art” will look at how art deals with the major catastrophes that strike communities, as well as personal tragedies, and the role art can play in our recovery by contemplating amid today’s mounting crises of war, terrorism, refugees, and destruction of the environment - the dynamic “power of art” to turn negative into positive.