In Onahama, Japan, following the Great East Japan Earthquake, a project known as Okurie emerged that involves painting murals onto buildings that are scheduled to be demolished. Nearly two years later, artist Yosuke Tan, aka untangle, paid a visit to one site of an Okurie at Iwaki Sogo High School where recent graduates of the now-vacant educational institution gathered to commemorate the building they spent their high school days in.
Using 27 liters of paint, the students left their handprints on the windows and walls of the building to create a spectacular mural of cherry blossom trees. The remarkably moving piece is a visual document of what some might see as flowers for the funeral of a building.
Tan says, “Hundreds of flowers were painted by the students pressing their hand prints to the wall during a chilly January. Wall, hand, flower, wall, hand, flower… It was [a] heartfelt expression of gratitude for the school where they spent their high school lives. Layer upon layer of flower petals created a row of cherry trees in full bloom, through which I could feel the warmth of spring despite the cold cracks on the wall of [the] school building. It was as if the now-disused building reflected the warmth of the people who were once there.”