In March of this year, a few days after the massive earthquake struck Japan, Barbara Mason - one of the managers of the Barenforum internet printmakers group - posted the following message on the forum:
Dear Baren Artists,
This is a very trying time for our friends in Japan; even those who live far from the actual disaster are upset and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I heard on CNN from one of their seismologists that the quake moved the entire island of Japan 8 feet and actually moved the earth on its axis several degrees. This is a world wide trauma. Japan will recover due to sheer grit and determination but it will be affected for many years.
We did a portfolio for fundraising after 9-11 but we were not that successful at selling it to raise funds. I suggest we do another one but find an organization to sell it. ... I think any image that is inspired by Japan will work, it does not have to be about the current tragedy. Celebrating the strength and tenacity and beauty of Japan will give us many images to chose from. I have already decided on an image, which is half the battle for me. It can be moku hanga or western printing. No limits of this except it should be relief since that is who we are.
I suggest that all the prints should be in my hands in two months, so around the end of May or early June. The last edition we did ended up in the New York Public Library collection, so we got a real thanks for our good deed. Maybe this one will do so as well. Let's see if we can get a full compliment of Barenforum printmakers to make this happen. Do your best work, it is for the most worthy of causes.
My very best to you all, Barbara
Over the following week, she received an outpouring of support for her proposal, and more than 60 of the group members signified their intention to join her in creating a series of portfolios in support of the project.
As the project has gradually come together, the group has been discussing various methods of putting their work on the market, with the intention of course of distributing all proceeds to an organization directly involved in relief efforts for the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. The actual organization and structure of the portfolios to be created is still in flux; more details will be posted on the relevant pages of this site as they are finalized.
We hope that you will find this project of interest, and that you will consider offering your support. Thank you.