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After the Water Receded: Images from Japan at Baruch's Mishkin Gallery

photo by Magdalena Sole Naoto Nakagawa. 1,000 Portraits of Hope #227, 2011 Color archival pigment print, 24 x 36”© Magdalena Solé, 2012  Brush pen with Indian ink, 14 x 11

Left: Magdalena Solé. Soma after the Tsunami, Japan, 2011  Color archival pigment print, 24 x 36”© Magdalena Solé, 2012; Right: Naoto Nakagawa. 1,000 Portraits of Hope #227, Brush pen with Indian ink, 14 x 11        

At the Mishkin Gallery, April 20 to May 18, 2012

NEW YORK, NY, April 3, 2012Baruch College presents the exhibition After the Water Receded: Images from Japan at the Mishkin Gallery from Friday, April 20 to May 18, 2012. An opening reception will take place on Thursday, April 19, from 6-8 p.m.  

After the Water Receded documents and commemorates the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown which struck northern Japan one year ago, on March 11, 2011. Artist Naoto Nakagawa exhibits drawings, which are portraits of survivors, and Magdalena Solé exhibits color photographs taken after the disasters, some within the 12-mile radius around the nuclear power plant. Together, the work of these two artists forms a visual narrative that provides some of the untold stories of this disaster and the rebuilding of Fukushima prefecture.

Over the past year the media has been filled with stories and photos documenting destruction by quake, by water, and by radiation, as well as the disruption of the lives of the people who are now homeless.

Magdalena Solé recounts her experience: “No matter how informed, nothing prepares you for what you see upon entering the abandoned zone around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant. Human time was frozen the day people were evacuated inside a 12-mile radius. Life without humans continued. Tall growing grasses, now feral farm animals and ostriches took over the carefully manicured land and homes. More than in other cultures, the Japanese heart is intertwined with the land of their ancestors. Being displaced is the greatest of all disasters.

The earthquake and tsunami eradicated entire towns, killed thousands, but people are coping. They relive that day in nightmares, they organize and classify what has been washed up, they clean their destroyed homes, and come together to offer each other solace. Little makeshift altars stand in the ruins of what once was a home. ‘Grandfather used to sit here,’ I am told while getting a tour of the house that is no longer there. In the place of grandfather's chair is now a vase with flowers and a statue of a deity that was washed up.”

Naoto Nakagawa describes his project “1000 Portraits of Hope”: “When the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown struck northern Japan, I felt powerless to do something substantial to help my homeland. Family circumstances took me to Japan a few months later, and I resolved to visit the devastated area to see it with my own eyes. While I was there I decided to draw portraits of people who are living in shelters, to give them some token that a visitor from far away in America cares about their plight. I remembered that after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City, school children in Japan sent 1,000 paper cranes, a symbol of healing and good fortune, to my children’s school.  I decided to make “1,000 Portraits” to give to people in northern Japan— a symbolic way to demonstrate that others care for them and that we support each other in a crisis.

During five subsequent trips to Japan, I was assisted by a humanitarian aid group, which arranged for me to visit schools and shelters. The response was overwhelming; when I focused on my subjects, they started to talk, or sometimes to cry.  One woman told me that she had lost all her family photos in the tsunami, and was so grateful to have my portrait of her.”

This exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Avedon and Sandra Kraskin, director of the Sidney Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College. 

Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Friday, Noon to 5 p.m. and Thursday Noon to 7:00 p.m. The Mishkin Gallery, located at 135 E. 22nd Street at Lexington, is free and open to the public.  

For questions about the gallery, call Sandra Kraskin at 646-660-6652. For press passes, contact Mercedes Sanchez at



Manny Romero, (646) 660-6141,

Mercedes Sanchez, (646) 660-6112,


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