Commemorative Event & Peace Ceremony
in honour of all Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims and survivors
especially visiting Hibakusha Shigeko Niimoto Sasamori & Michimasa Hirata

Dunedin, New Zealand
9 & 10 August 2012

This commemorative event was organized by Prof. Kevin Clements, Head of The National Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies at Otago University, and his staff, with artistic responses from Dunedin artists Claire Beynon & Stephen Mulqueen.

DEEP SILENCE | CLAIRE BEYNON | An installation of paper boats carrying survivors' texts

Rings of Passage

There is a wind
breaking with eloquence, rain,

a thousand origami cranes for longevity;
and two women, hibakusha, in a garden

of castle rock, stepping stones,
a pond of blue feathers, hiding their faces

behind the fluttering motifs of bamboo
and pine, their skin peeled like a soft plum

exposing the red pit of a muscle. There is a sense
that here in this city, there is a language

we cannot speak. It's the translation we fear most,
like a stone that first glowed,

thrown into the river, widening the rings
of passage, but still visible, still spreading.

The faces we did not see where the mouth
of the river choked on burnt flesh;

where the willow, clutching the dark,
stood weeping over the corpses of children. 

Corpses Piled Like Lumber | painting by survivor Kiyomi Kono 

and a wreath of paper boats to lay beside the dead (CLAIRE BEYNON)

Hiroshima flag

ALONE   ALL ONE | CLAIRE BEYNONOil & Pencil on Paper 2012

Brass bullet cases fashioned into poppies, mounted on board in the shape of Hiroshima's flag symbol. 


August 6 1945 - an unforgettable date in history.  In memory of those who died in the Hiroshima bombing, thousands of glowing paper lanterns are floated on the river. . . In this short film by Velcrow Ripper, a survivor describes what she saw and expresses her wish that this never happen again. Woven throughout, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. ask us: why should we love our enemies?

                     ODE TO THE ATOM    |    PABLO NERUDA

                     you seemed
                     in metal, hidden,
                     your diabolic
                     One day
                     someone knocked
                     at your tiny
                     it was man.
                     With one 
                     he unchained you,
                     you saw the world,
                     you came out
                     into the daylight,
                     you traveled through
                     your great brilliance
                     illuminated lives,
                     you were a 
                     terrible fruit
                     of electric beauty,
                     you came to
                     hasten the flames
                     of summer,
                     and then
                     a predator's eyeglasses,
                     armor, and a checked shirt,
                     sporting sulfuric mustaches
                     and a prehensile tail,
                     the warrior
                     and seduced you:
                     he told you,
                     curl up,
                     atom, you resemble
                     a Greek god,
                     a Parisian modiste
                     in springtime,
                     lie down here
                     on my fingernail,
                     climb into this little box,
                     and then
                     the warrior
                     put you in his jacket
                     as if you were nothing but
                     a North American
                     and he traveled through the world
                     and dropped you
                     on Hiroshima.

                     We awakened.

                     The dawn
                     had been consumed.
                     All the birds
                     burned to ashes.
                     An odor
                     of coffins,
                     gas from tombs, 
                     thundered through space.
                     The shape of punishment arose,
                     bloody mushroom, dome, 
                     cloud of smoke, 
                     of hell. 
                     Burning air arose, 
                     spreading death
                     on parallel waves, 
                     the mother sleeping 
                     with her child, 
                     the river fisherman
                     and the fish,
                     the bakery
                     and the bread, 
                     the engineer
                     and his buildings;
                     was acid

                     The city
                     crumbled its last honeycombs
                     and fell, fell suddenly, 
                     were instant lepers,
                     they took
                     their children's hand
                     and the little hand
                     fell off in theirs. 
                     So, from your refuge
                     in the secret
                     mantle of stone
                     in which fire slept
                     they took you,
                     blinding spark, 
                     raging light, 
                     to destroy lives,
                     to threaten distant existences, 
                     beneath the sea, 
                     in the air, 
                     on the sands,
                     in every twist and turn
                     of the ports,
                     to destroy 
                     to kill cells, 
                     to stunt the corolla,
                     they destined you, atom, 
                     to level
                     to turn love into a black pustule,
                     to burn heaped-up hearts
                     and annihilate blood.

                     Mad spark,
                     go back
                     to your shroud,
                     bury yourself
                     in your mineral mantle,
                     be blind stone once again,
                     ignore the outlaws,
                     and collaborate
                     with life, with growing things,
                     replace motors,
                     elevate energy,
                     fertilize planets.
                     You have no secret
                     among men
                     without your terrible
                     pick up your pace
                     and pace
                     the picking of the fruit,
                     straightening rivers,
                     making fertile, 
                     to the peace of the vine, 
                     to the velocity of joy,
                     return to the province
                     of nature, 
                     place yourself at our service, 
                     and instead of the fatal
                     of your mask, 
                     instead of the unleashed inferno
                     of your wrath,
                     instead of the menace
                     of your terrible light, deliver to us 
                     your amazing rebelliousness
                     for our grain, 
                     your unchained magnetism
                     to found peace among men,
                     and then your dazzling light
                     will be happiness,
                     not hell,
                     hope of morning, 
                     gift to earth. 


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