It is truly amazing how we as a species can produce an outpouring of sympathy and help when a catastrophic event shakes up a certain corner of the world.

We’ve seen ourselves rise to the occasion time and time again with the earthquakes in China, Afghanistan and Haiti and the last tsunami that rocked Indonesia in 2004.We want to help.We want to comfort people. We want to ease that pain we know could happen to us. The dichotomy of what we do for each other and to each other is a subject for another time and place.

My uncle sent me a link to an interesting op/ed piece regarding an artist’s attempt helping the victims of the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis over in Japan.

You can read it here. I won’t repeat what was already written because I agree with the writer.

And I would venture to say this. It is a noble idea from James White with a great design concept. As we know many of the great artists have  used their faculties as artists to convey their thoughts, emotions and stories of the greatest conflicts and atrocities in human history. Clavé and Picasso did many pieces regarding the Spanish Civil War.  It enables us to cope and try to understand and heal from huge personal losses and   the scarred psyches of past events. It helps us process to it differently and find some peace.

There are soldiers who are returning from years of deployment dealing with the toll that war has taken on them and their friends and families  and all the while producing some inspiring and downright moving cinema, drawings, paintings and writings. It helps to heal our broken minds.

But I believe there is a difference between events triggered by the emotional (or coldblooded) responses by governments in relation to their respective political and economic agendas and a simple geological event.

Both kinds of these events affect us globally on many levels. One is not more or less than the other. And what has happened here has reopened a very delicate issue regarding the type of energy we rely on now as a society and it’s potential for horrific implications in times of earthquakes and tsunami. As we realize that our dependence on fossil fuels has had an enormous negative  consequence on this planet and it’s inhabitants, and we are looking for the next form of renewable and safe energy, we are reminded that we have to deal with our  non qualified meddling in atomic energy sources and what can happen when it’s not running perfect. A car runs out of fuel or oil to keep it cool, it seizes. A reactor cracks and can’t retain the water used to keep the core cool, a little more than a seized engine occurs.

Where this artist and his piece falls short is in the mass production of a product that while poetic, is a reminder of something awful. He is doing this in order to raise funds. I get it. He’s a phenomenal artist. But I think it would be better served  making a stand alone piece only. Just one piece. By raising interest in that one piece, I believe you still can get people to donate to the help organizations there in the relief effort without using the resources such as ink and paper in the production, delivery, postage and subsequent (possibly) disposal of the posters.

I agree with the writer that I would not be inclined so much as to put the poster up and each time be reminded of the event (or maybe how close we came to another Three Mile Island or Chernobyl)(**and we are still not out of the woods**) but to destroy it safe in the assumption I made a difference with my donation.

While I’m sure some artists have made work about tsunami or earthquakes or hurricanes, I’ve never seen them and I don’t believe people want to be reminded of these events which have always occurred on this planet. They just happen and we happen to be in the way. I’ve never seen art depicting dinosaurs running away from a meteor shower embraced as a way to commemorate the ice age.

In the end, I think the piece is brilliant, beautiful, graceful and tragic. And, like the event, there should only be one.

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