A crowdfunding campaign is also in full swing to support the efforts.

Japanese artist and writer Taro Okamoto (1911-1996) is today remembered largely for his avant-garde paintings. He began what’s likely his most famous work, Myth of Tomorrow (明日の神話 / Asu no Shinwa), in Mexico in 1968 for the lobby of a hotel being built at the time. However, the original commissioner became bankrupt and work on the hotel was stopped. The near-completed piece was shuffled around, lost in the ensuing decades, before finally being located in Mexico City in 2003. It was unfortunately in rough condition at that point and needed some serious repair work done after it was transported to Japan.

Myth of Tomorrow is a massive mural, sobering in its depiction of the moment an atomic bomb detonates. In an effort to have as many people as possible bear witness to its intense message, one of the busiest train stations in Tokyo was selected for its permanent installation in 2008 following the repair work–Shibuya Station. There, millions of passerby per day can gaze upon it as they pass among the Shibuya Mark shopping complex, the JR train lines, and the Keio Inokashira Line.

Myth of Tomorrow with its striking colors and gruesome shapes inside of Shibuya Station

Unfortunately, in the 15 years since it’s graced the pedestrian passageway, the painting has experienced greater wear and tear than anticipated and is in need of drastic maintenance to ensure it remains for future generations. Therefore, the painting is to undergo large-scale restoration efforts that will last several years, with the first stage slated to begin on October 10 and last approximately 40 days. This stage will focus on repairing cracks, peeling, and discoloration in the four rightmost panels of the painting as well as improving the environment on its reverse side. Scaffolding will be constructed throughout the duration of the work, which will hopefully enter its second stage in fall 2024.

▼ Some of the visible damage to the painting over the past 15 years

To support the restoration efforts, the Taro Okamoto Memorial Foundation for the Promotion of Contemporary Art has teamed up with the nonprofit the Myth of Tomorrow Preservation and Succession Organization for a campaign on Japanese crowdfunding site Campfire. The campaign, which opened on September 22 for a duration of 70 days, seeks to raise 18 million yen (US$121,388). As of this writing, just over 500 supporters have donated to the cause, already raising 54 percent of the total amount. Those who pledge support will receive incentives such as a special membership card, a 96-page book titled Myth of Tomorrow: 1967-2023, replicated fragments of the painting from its original restoration work, or their name immortalized on a nameplate on the reverse side of the mural.

For an upcoming public art installation of a more modern nature inside of another station passageway, check out this piece that will be open to the public in Kyoto beginning on October 1.

Source, images: @Press
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