Message from IRI and TOSHI Maruki
Iri Maruki (left), 1901-1995
Toshi Maruki (right), 1912-2000
We lost our uncle to the Atomic Bomb and our two young nieces were killed ; our younger sister sufferd burns
and our father died after six months ; many friends perished.
Iri left Tokyo for Hiroshima on the first train from Tokyo, three days after the Bomb was dropped.
Toshi followed a few days later.
Two kilometers from the center of the explosion, the family house was still standing.
But the roof and roof tiles were mostly gone, windows had been blown out, and even the pans, dishes, and chopsticks had been blasted out of their places in the kitchen.
In what was left of the burned structure, rescued bomb victims were gathered together and lay on the floor from wall to wall until it was full.
We carried the injured, cremated the dead, searched for food, and found scorched sheets of tin to patch the roof.
With the stench of death and the flies and the maggots all around us, we wandered about in the same manner as those who had experienced the Bomb.
In the biginning of September, back in Tokyo, we heard for certain that the war had ended.
In Hiroshima, we hadn't known.
It had never entered our minds--at that time, we couldn't think beyond what we were seeing and doing.
Three years passed before we began to paint what we had seen.
We began to paint our own nude bodies to bring back the images of that time, and others come to pose for us because we were painting the Atomic Bomb.
We thought about a 17-year-old girl having had a 17-year life span, and 3-year-old child having had a life of three years.
Nine hundreds sketches were merged together to create the first paintings.
We thought we had painted a tremendous number of people, but there were 260,000 people who died in Hiroshima.
As we prayed for the blessing of the dead with a fervent hope that it never happen again, we realized that even if we sketched and painted all oflour lives, we couldn't never paint them all.
One Atomic Bomb in one indtant caused the deaths of more people than we could ever portray.
Long-lasting radioactivity and radiation sickness are causing people to suffer and die even now.
This was not a natural disaster.
As we painted, through our paintings, these thought came to run through and through our mind.
Iri Maruki, Toshi Maruki