The Hiroshima Panels were one of the first works of art in the world to resist the coming of the nuclear era. Experiencing the atrocities in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945, Chinese-ink painter Iri Maruki and oil painter Toshi Maruki began their collaboration on the Hiroshima Panels in 1950. During the occupation of Japan by the Allied powers, when reporting on the atomic bombing was strictly prohibited, the panels played a crucial role in making known the hidden nuclear sufferings throughout Japan and internationally.
Today, they are preserved and exhibited at the Maruki Gallery, in the countryside near Tokyo. The Gallery offers peace education for school groups and resources for academic research on non-nuclear art and the social role of art. The Gallery hopes, as the Marukis did, to capture visitors' imagination and contribute to the prevention of similar atrocities, and empower people suffering in different contexts.
Yet, in recent months the Gallery has been closed to the public due to the spread of COVID-19, and is finding it difficult both to preserve and share the unique works it holds. The Maruki Gallery has just launched its first global fundraising campaign, to “Create Virtual Tours to Share the Hiroshima Panels.” This project will not only preserve the Gallery for peace education, it will also enable new demographics from around the world to be immersed in the works of the Marukis and be inspired by their universal message.