Great East Japan Earthquake
Great East Japan Earthquake

2011. On March 11, an earthquake shakes East Japan, generating a tsunami and an accident in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Coming face to face with the violence of nature and the pain and suffering of other people, these emotionally turbulent events have a tremendous impact on Nara’s life as an artist moving forward. The image from Nara’s drawing, NO NUKES (1998), previously used in antinuclear protests in Bangkok, Thailand, begins to be used from this time for placards at anti-nuclear demonstrations in Japan with his official approval.

2012. In April, upon his return to his studio from Aichi, Nara takes up his brushes again to create paintings that evoke new developments, such as Miss Spring. It becomes an iconic image in the anti-nuclear movement and is used on banners at demonstrations as well as for the denuclearization-themed music festival NO NUKES 2012

2013. Takes part in Damage Control: Art and Destruction since 1950 (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D. C.), a group exhibition focused on the theme of destruction and the role of art in the atomic age.

2019. March, at the behest of Japanese nonprofit organization, Japan Platform (JPF), visits Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.

In August, The Yoshitomo Nara Foundation is established to preserve, exhibit, and promote the artist’s work and materials.

2020. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, all exhibitions are rescheduled. The first international full-scale retrospective, YOSHITOMO NARA, is planned at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, but due to the pandemic, the opening is postponed until the following year.

2023. Solo exhibition with a focus on Nara’s three-dimensional works created after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Reach Out to the Moon, Even if We Can’t, held at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth.

Solo exhibition with a focus on drawings, All My little Words, held at the Albertina Museum, Vienna.

Second solo exhibition held at the Aomori Museum of Art, The Beginning Place.

2024. Latest solo exhibition at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Demonstration in front of the Prime Minister’s office against the restart of a nuclear power station, June 29, 2012
© Yoshitomo Nara, courtesy Yoshitomo Nara Foundation
Photo: Noriko Miyamura