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Edinburgh hosts monumental Peace Crane Exhibition as part of the Just Festival

August 6 - 28, 2021
Report by Mr. Sean Morris, UK & Ireland Mayors for Peace Chapter Secretary

One of the most prominent Hiroshima-related events held in Scotland this August is a major Peace Cranes Exhibition taking place as part of the Edinburgh Just Festival. Curated by the artist Janis Hart, it includes 140,000 folded peace cranes that remember the 140,000 people killed in the Hiroshima atomic weapon attack.

Hosted in the Scottish Peace and Justice Festival in St John's Church in Edinburgh city centre, the project is inspired by Atsuko Betchaku (1960-2017). As a teenager she visited Nagasaki where the atomic bomb was estimated to have killed 40,000 people and injured a further 60,000. But it was not until after settling in Edinburgh to pursue her PhD in history at the University of Edinburgh, and four decades following her Nagasaki visit, that she was compelled to launch a poignant project commemorating each of the 140,000 Hiroshima victims and illustrating our shared desire for peace and disarmament.

This vast number of peace cranes represents not only the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 but the lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, as well as the great acceleration of species extinction through the symbol of the endangered, red-crowned crane. The exhibition is on from the 6th - 27th August, but it may extend to link into the upcoming COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow this November.

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