In January 2013 I began a 10 week ‘Spirit of North’ residency at Kitikata in Fukushima Province in Japan. Although this area is inland and to the West of the disaster area which was blighted by the Nuclear accident the tsunami and earthquake of March 2011, it has suffered by association. The name Fukushima is synonymous with disaster the world over. We were able to visit the sites of devastation to better understand the plight of the refugees.
In 2013 the Province still housed 100,000 refugees from the disaster living in temporary accommodation. This residency lead by artist Yoshiko Murayama and funded by the Japan Foundation and the local IORI club had the purpose of bringing artists from Northern countries to work and connect with the area and people
The area was covered in very deep snow. Normally when we look at the landscape we see many signs of human occupation like houses , roads , agricultural buildings. But when deep snow comes these objects become covered and we see only shapes, patterns, textures and the element of snow itself. This absence and loss of detail became the first aspect of my attention reflected in my initial images. What is lost accentuates what remains and loss was an overwhelming concern in this area.
I named my exhibition of images in Kitikata ‘Link’ after one image in which by using computer rotation I created a long line of trees each linked by a single branch. This very much reflected the many conversations I had with local people and refugees who talked passionately about their need to reconnect with nature.
A Blog from the project is archived at https://ecoartscotland.net/tag/su-grierson/