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:: Watanoha Smile: a non-profit organization

Representative: INUKAI Tomo  http://inutomo.boy.jp/
Associate Representative: TADA Satoshi  http://collabo.me/

1-4 Kasumicho 2-chome
Tsuchii building #401
Yamagata City, Yamagata 990-0039
info@watanohasmile.jp

We work for the benefit of the children at Watanoha Elementary
School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture. The school suffered heavy
damage in the Tohoku Earthquake. From late March through mid-October
in 2011, we volunteered at an evacuation center in Ishinomaki City,
Miyagi Prefecture. Our work took place at the evacuation center at
Watanoha Elementary School, and it consisted of making a space for
play in the evacuation center, and playing with the children there.
Now the evacuation center at Watanoha Elementary School has been
closed, but we're still playing with the children in the Watanoha
area.

As a part of this activity, we made some artworks from the fragments
(wreckage) of the town that were washed into the playground at
Watanoha Elementary School. As a part of this activity, we made some
artworks from the fragments (wreckage) of the town that were washed
into the playground at Watanoha Elementary School. Lumps of sadness
were reborn into happy sculptures through the children's power.

About twenty children at Watanoha Elementary School Evacuation Center
made about one hundred artworks. Throughout the workshop, we were
moved by the imagination and strength of the children。These works have
been titled “Watanoha Smile”, and are currently being exhibited in
galleries and at events around the country. We set out donation boxes
at the exhibitions, and donate the entire sum we collect to Watanoha
Elementary School.

My name is Inukai Tomo, and my regular work as an artist is making
sculptures out of driftwood. I had done several driftwood sculpture
workshops with children before the disaster. My work is to create
smiles out of things that people no longer need. I used this workshop
that I'd done before with the children at Watanoha Elementary School.

There were two reasons that I wanted to carry out this project.

One reason is that I thought that the strong children at Watanoha
Elementary School and the works that they created would bring people
hope and smiles. As I looked at the sculptures that the children made,
I felt sure that they would become symbols of recovery.

The other reason is that people say that it will cost a vast amount of
money to dispose of the rubble and garbage from the disaster, and I
felt it was necessary to bring something forth out of all that
wreckage. The things that the children made are no longer wreckage,
but have been reborn as something precious.

I want to share the deep emotion and the smiles with all the people
who come in contact with these works, this wreckage that has been
reborn as a symbol of recovery. The Watanoha Smile Project was born
from that hope.