NEW YORK – A group of about 100 mostly Japanese artists based in New York held an exhibition Monday to raise funds for the Tohoku region and to raise awareness about the severity of the disaster.
The exhibition, titled “We Are One,” is being held at Gallery 61 at the New York Institute of Technology and features paintings, drawings, sculptures and photography. The event was organized by Yuko Oda, assistant professor of fine arts at the institute, and seven volunteers.
“People outside Japan tend to think it is a wealthy country and does not need as much support to cope with the disaster, but the damage is enormous,” Oda said. Relief for Tohoku has been relatively slow to arrive compared with that for the 2010 Haiti earthquake, he added.
Oda said the organizers initially made a list of 20 artists willing to contribute works for the exhibition soon after the earthquake-tsunami catastrophe, but the number of contributing artists swelled to 109 through word of mouth. This list includes several non-Japanese artists, she said.
All contributing artists, including famous figures such as On Akiyoshi, Katsuhiro Saiki and Tomokazu Matsuyama, donated works at an affordable price range of $100 to $200 in order to raise funds as quickly as possible, Oda said.
“We organized everything very quickly as we felt we needed to act while the memory of the disaster is still fresh in people’s minds,” Oda said, adding that 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the New York-based Japan Society’s quake relief fund.
The organizers have so far only been able to secure the gallery space on Monday, but plan to hold a similar fundraising event as soon as they find more galleries willing to donate space, Oda said.
Efforts to organize charity concerts are growing worldwide, with renowned musicians and orchestras performing to show their good will.
In Paris on Monday, some 20 artists based in France, including Jane Birkin, held a charity concert on behalf of the quake and tsunami victims.
Koto player Mieko Miyazaki performed her original tunes clad in traditional kimono.
Meanwhile, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a benefit concert to support the disaster victims at Vienna’s State Opera on May 18.