Seventy years ago, on August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m., a U.S. aircraft dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. For the first time in history, an entire population suffered the devastating effects of this new weapon.
This sad anniversary is especially important for the Montréal Botanical Garden, since Montréal and Hiroshima have been twin cities since 1998. The Japanese Garden is also home to the Peace Bell, a gift from Hiroshima. This precious gift reminds us that we must never forget and must continue praying for world peace.
Hiroshima – When Art Speaks: what words cannot express
This year, the Japanese Pavilion is hosting an exhibition, Hiroshima – When Art Speaks. Visitors can admire 31 drawings made many years after the tragedy by aging survivors. Some of these works are very simple, while others are much more elaborate. Their lines, be they confident or shaky, depict a pitiless reality that is often difficult to witness.
In addition to the drawings, the exhibition also contains three splendid paintings by artist Kenzo Kamei depicting sunflowers subjected to the terrible effects of the atomic bomb. The botanical nature of their subject takes nothing away from the paintings’ powerfully moving message.
Just like Kenzo Kamei, the survivors who made these drawings chose art as a way of sharing their stories and extending a poignant appeal for peace to future generations.
With this exhibition, we want to pay tribute to the victims and relate this page from history as it was experienced physically and emotionally by those who were there at the time.
As happens every year, on the morning of August 6, thousands of people will attend the Peace Ceremony in Hiroshima.
At the same time (on the evening of August 5, Montréal time), the Peace Ceremony to commemorate Hiroshima will be held in the Japanese Garden starting at 7 p.m. Nearby, on the Olympic Park’s Sun Life Financial Esplanade, the OSM will be performing a free concert opening with a musical tribute to Hiroshima.
Our two sites will be linked via camera, so that the Peace Ceremony will be broadcast live on the Esplanade, while in the Japanese Garden we will be able to listen to the orchestra’s musical tribute.
Everyone is invited to attend this solemn, thought-provoking evening.