Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Textile Details

'Women in Naraha making life-sized Kakashi-dolls', by Linda Adams. (Photo: Rob Fairmichael)
'Women in Naraha making life-sized Kakashi-dolls', by Linda Adams. (Photo: Rob Fairmichael)


Title of Textile:Women in Naraha making life-sized Kakashi-dolls
Maker: Linda Adams
Country of Origin: England
Year Produced: 2017
Size (cm): 48cm (w) x 33cm (l)
Materials: Found fabrics and fabrics kindly donated by the ladies of Naraha.
Type of Textile: Arpillera

On 11th March 2011, the north-east coast of Japan was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in history, unleashing a massive tsunami, which in turn triggered a meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Within 24 hours, the 7,700 residents of Naraha, similar to other towns in the Fukushima Prefecture, were ordered to evacuate immediately.

Whilst the Naraha evacuation order was lifted in September 2015, fewer than 1000 residents (13%) had returned permanently by December 2016. Many are fearful of the risk of radioactive contamination, especially those with young children. Also people who previously worked in the nuclear plant and related industries have lost their jobs in Naraha.

In an effort to ‘repopulate’ Naraha, a group of older women gathered in an abandoned classroom and made life-sized dolls, placing them around the town, in locations which were previously hives of activity; the post office, bank, school and day care centre.

Kaneko Takahara, a key person in the group, is “especially sad that there are no children here anymore” and hopes that the dolls will: “show everyone …that there is still life here and that they should move back.” (“Hope returns to town of the dolls” The Telegraph, 26th December, 2016)

Reading this article compelled English arpillerista Linda Adams to bear witness to the Naraha womens’ valiant efforts. Photos sent by Tomoko Sakai, commissioner of the 2017 “Stitching Memoryscape” exhibition of the women working on their dolls, with some of their donated scraps of fabric allowed her to briefly ‘step’ into their world and respond in textile form.

This finished arpillera is Linda’s tribute to: “the courageous ladies of Naraha who chose to go home in spite of the risks from the radiation, and their ingenuity in using textiles to recreate the citizens and put the dolls in the places they used to be seen, in the hope of persuading [the people] to come back.”

These dolls, brought to Linda’s attention by international media, aided by Tomoko’s photographs, fleshed by donated scraps of fabric, illustrate a powerful thread of connection between women in different contexts, different continents, who voice their concerns through the medium of needle, thread and fabric.

Owner: Tomoko Sakai. Donation from Conflict Textiles curator Roberta Bacic
Location: Tomoko Sakai, Kobe University, Japan
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Rob Fairmichael

Textile exhibited at: Stitching Memoryscape 「記憶風景を縫う」, 1/07/2017 - 9/07/2017

Textile Detail Image(s)

  'Naraha'(reverse side), by Linda Adams. (Photo: Rob Fairmichael)