by Hiromi Morita
At Massapequa, a town in Long Island. Hiroshi Sunairi, an ad-junct professor at New York University and Hiroshima-born contemporary artist, a 35-years-old visited his student, Michael Miritello’s house to plant second generation of seedling of Hibaku Gingko Tree. 1.4-kilo meter away from hypocenter, this Hibaku Gingko grew its life. Sunairi had a solo show at Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art in 2005 using Hibaku trees in his work, creating a work of remembrance. He was given these Hibaku Gingko seedlings from Dr. Riki Horiguchi wanting to send a message of peace to the young people of the U.S. By growing about 20 seedlings at home, Sunairi has been giving them to his students. Sunairi stops telling the message contained in the trees that he gives; instead, he wants to share the message of nature and life. Hiroshima-born Sunairi felt that teaching peace in school was forceful. As he has come to the U.S., he felt that peace activism lacked a connection with popular culture. However, the way American people think about peace makes him unsatisfied. No matter how nice they are, once they talk about atomic bombings and war, they often say, “It is inevitable to fight to preserve peace.” This made Sunairi start his project with Hibaku Trees.
Miritello, who planted trees said, “The life of this Hibaku Gingko trees connects people from the other side of sea. I would like to grow while imagining what this tree has gone through,” as Sunairi hoped to come across.