Contemporary Arts

Rias Ark Museum of Art

Opened 1994 in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture (Japan).

In addition to exhibitions related to local historical culture including the fisheries industry and the tsunami, the Rias Ark Museum of Art has held many exhibitions of works by artists of the Tohoku region. The museum itself is sited on a hillside, so it was not directly hit by the 2011 tsunami, but the curatorial staff were affected. The facility was then used as a staging point for relief supplies, and was involved in special tasks such as recording the local effects of the Tsunami. As a result, the museum had to close for 16 months. As a local cultural facility, the Rias Ark Museum of Art has a vital post-disaster role to play in communicating the memories of this historical event to future generations. Curators walked around the area, obtaining vast amounts of photographic records from immediately after the disaster, and collecting items left in the town destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami. The challenge of how to present these materials is now being addressed by a team led by Hiroyasu Yamauchi, who has worked at the museum since its opening, and has studied the history of tsunamis on the Sanriku coast. As a result of its location, the Rias Ark Museum of Art's Great East Japan Earthquake archives and exhibitions will become a vital guide to how to handle memories that need to be retained and transmitted on a long-term basis.

  Collected goods damaged by Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Photo is taken at the storage area of Rias Ark Museum of Art
photo: Hiroyasu Yamauchi
courtesy of Rias Ark Museum of Art
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