An Artist's Tribute to Japan

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All photos courtesy Jeroen Bisscheroux

In March of 2011, Japan underwent a series of natural disasters, which ultimately led to many Japanese citizens losing their homes, clean drinking water and in worst case scenarios, their invaluable lives.

The devastating event began with an earthquake, which initiated a series of large tsunami waves that caused mass destruction to northeast Honshu (Japan's main island). Coastal cities and towns, along with vast areas of farmland, were destroyed in the waves. The tsunami swept away people's houses, boats, cars, trucks and other personal belongings, as well as the people themselves. The official death count after the disaster was said to reach at least 20,000 Japanese citizens, an incomprehensible number. However, the tragedy was far from over.

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The earthquake and tsunami further led to the initiation of a nuclear accident at a power station along the coast, now known as the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. Reactors at three nearby nuclear power plants automatically shut down following the earthquake, which also cut the main power and cooling systems at the plants. This would typically be fixed with a quick power reboot thanks to the plant's backup generators, but because of the tsunami waves, the generators were damaged, so power remained off for days. The lack of power caused explosions, fires and the release of significant levels of radiation into the plant's surrounding areas.

Ultimately, Japanese citizens were asked to evacuate their homes, pilots were told to fly clear of the area, and local food, drinking water and seawater became contaminated, causing further heartache to an already suffering group of people.

Jeroen Bisscheroux, an artist based in Amsterdam, took it upon himself to create something beautiful in memory of the tsunami, nuclear disaster and all the lives lost.

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Pool, loss of colour is a 3D image Jeroen placed on a carpet in order to create an optical illusion. The graphic is printed on a flat-plane, but the optics make it seem like you are standing in a very deep pool of water. The size of the carpet is that of a full-scale swimming pool. The pool's perimeter is adorned with white tiles, while the interior walls are deteriorating and oozing a poisonous, green liquid.

The image unites visuals from both the tsunami and the Fukushima disaster into a singular graphic to represent just how devastating and proximate these two events were. The ideas communicated through the image aim to raise awareness of the lasting consequences, as well as to remember all the people, places and belongings that were lost to Japan in the tragedies. 

This article first appeared in the April 2023 issue of AQUA Magazine — the top resource for retailers, builders and service pros in the pool and spa industry. Subscriptions to the print magazine are free to all industry professionals. Click here to subscribe.

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