Dean Chapman pictures Archaeology of the Japanese tsunami disaster at Newcastle's Side Gallery

By Culture24 Reporter | 16 January 2013
A photo of a colourful painting of two Japanese women
© Dean Chapman

Exhibition preview: Dean Chapman: The Archaeology of a Disaster – the Aftermath of Japan's 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami, Side Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, until March 16 2013

In May 2000, award-winning photographer Dean Chapman hitchhiked south along Japan’s Route 45, photographing people and places on the Pacific Coast of Iwate and Miyagi.

A black and white photo of a group of people taking part in a ceremony on a beach in Japan
© Dean Chapman
Eleven years later, in the aftermath of the tsunami which devastated those communities in March 2011, he took the same route, portraying an area where thousands had drowned, their towns and cities falling apart while a nuclear accident unfolded.

And his final journey was a repeat of the trip, documenting the “slow, methodical clean-up” and recovering infrastructure of the north-east coast of Japan’s main island, Honshu.

His story, split over two levels, features monochrome, before-and-after photos downstairs, complemented by single and multi-print images.

It’s partly an examination of catastrophe and loss, but also an examination of Japanese culture. Maps of Chapman's travels outline the lay of the lands.

  • Open 11am-5pm (7pm Thursday, closed Sunday and Monday). Admission free. Visit for more on the artist, and follow the gallery on Twitter @SideGallery.

More pictures:

A photo of a wrecked car and a blown down tree submerged under a river
© Dean Chapman
A photo of a Japanese flag on a sandy surface next to flowers overlooking mountains
© Dean Chapman
A photo of part of a mechanical fruit machine lying among the rubble of an earthquake
© Dean Chapman
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