Iri & Toshi Maruki

  • Born 1901 in Hiroshima, Japan / Hokkaido, Japan
  • Died 1995 in Tokyo, Japan

Maruki Iri and Maruki Toshi, who married in 1941, were professional artists with different backgrounds. While Maruki Iri studied traditional nihonga painting (monochrome ink painting), Maruki Toshi studied Western art at the Joshibijutsudaigaku no joshi-kō (Joshibi University’s Women’s School of Art and Design). He preferred large-scale paintings, while she favored drawing and illustrations. In 1948 the couple began their lifelong artistic collaboration on the subject of war and human tragedies, such as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. Maruki Iri, who was from Hiroshima and lost family members in the bombing, arrived on the site only three days after the bombing. His wife followed a few days later. The urge to respond artistically to what they had seen emerged from their inability to forget the haunting memories, and during the next thirty years they created fifteen large folding-screen panels with complex and densely layered images. The Marukis also produced collaborative works on other atrocities of war, such as the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Nanking massacre. Since the 1950s, their “Hiroshima Panels” have been exhibited worldwide and both artists have received honors and prizes, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for their commitment to nuclear disarmament and world peace.

Artworks by Iri & Toshi Maruki in the exhibition