These children, likely siblings, performing as acrobats in a children’s talent show at the Hanford Theater during the WWII years, had no idea that in a short while plutonium manufactured there would be dropped on Nagasaki, the 61st anniversary of which is today. This is something that was much in my mind as I went through the Hanford Declassified archive–and is mentioned often enough in my commentaries on the paintings–that the WWII photos depicted life among individuals who knew only they were working for the war effort, unaware they were enrolled in building “the bomb”. Though the necessity of secrecy will be asserted, the right of a laborer to privileged information which may sway their decision to work or not on a project seems an essential ethical issue.
The painting I did subsequent this one, I titled, “Closing the Barn Door”, after the idiom of the absurdity of closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, and here a girl is performing gymnastics on a sort of pommel horse against the impersonal fury of the onrushing future, Mount Fuji looming in the background as in several of the paintings, drawn from Hokusai’s iconic “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”.
The digital painting was based on the below image:
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
Accession Number N1D0005199
Document Number D-7902-NEG
Alternate Document Number D-7902-NEG
Title Description CHILDRENS TALENT CONTEST CHRISTMAS 1944
Number of Pages 1
Document Date 01-Dec-1944
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002