A sculptor in Japan has launched a program teaching kids to make art from trash and debris left by the March 2011 tsunami. Called the Watanoha Smile Project, 34-year old Tomo Inukai taught kids who took shelter at the Watanoha Primary School to create crafts made from debris of broken buildings and furniture. Mostly characters and figures, the students have taken to naming their creations with the likes of “Lady Heavy Makeup,” and “Uncle Demon,” to bring smiles to the faces of the townspeople.
When the tsunami struck the town of Ishinomaki in 2011, the place was left in desolation and everything was ruined. Inukai wanted to help the townspeople rebuild what was destroyed with the launch of his advocacy. “The works are filled with students’ memories of trying to get on their feet again after the disaster,” said the sculptor. Artworks made by the students were recorded in a book he recently published. Called “Watanoha-Smile: Recovery Art Objects Made by the Children of Ishinomaki,” around 200 figures made from debris were included in the book, with stories on how they were formed.
A resident of the neighboring Yamagata Prefecture, Inukai is known for conducting workshops to create art from discarded items. When a volunteer organization found out about his expertise, they invited him to go to the primary school in Miyagi Prefecture. Seeing the pile of debris and ruin initially disheartened Inukai, but after seeing the children play with whatever thing they could find in the area, he was encouraged to do whatever he can to help them. “They lost various things [in the disaster], so I thought their imagination and creativity had increased,” he said. The artworks of the children have been showcased at around 30 different locations in Japan, and Inukai is hoping that it will soon be exhibited in the United States as well.
[via Washington Post]