Curator: Judith Bauer
In 1947, the children of All Souls Unitarian Church shipped art supplies to the survivors of the Hiroshima bombing. In return, the children of Hiroshima sent 48 drawings that reflected not the devastation of the war, but vibrant depictions of the abundant life for which they hoped. The exhibition reveals the children's resilience of spirit in the midst of tragedy.
In November 1946, then Senior Minister Rev. A. Powell Davies delivered the widely circulated sermon, Lest the Living Forget, denouncing a party at which military officers rejoiced over a cake shaped like the atomic cloud seen over Hiroshima. The bold sermon text came to the attention of an aide to General MacArthur in Japan, Dr. Howard Bell, who wrote to Davies describing the plight of the 400 children at the Honkawa School, and asked about “the possibility of putting on a ‘desk cleaning project’ that would yield substantial numbers of pencil stubs, used erasers, Crayons and notebooks? Are war memories still too fresh?” In response, the Children at All Souls Church, Unitarian collected over half-a-ton of school supplies and shipped it to the Honkawa and Fukouromachi Schools in Hiroshima and the nearby Ninoshima Orphanage. Several months later, the children in Hiroshima sent back 48 watercolor and crayon drawings that reflected not the devastation of war, but vibrant depictions of the abundant life they hoped for. Unlike other historical materials depicting the events of Hiroshima, the 18 exquisite and hopeful images on display tell the story of healing and reconciliation between once war-torn enemies. Later this summer the collection will travel back to Hiroshima, where the original artists will be reunited with their childhood artworks after 62 years.