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Hundreds of ‘Middle Finger’ Candles Lit in Silent Protest Against Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown
Posted By Helen Morgan On May 8, 2012 @ 9:13 am In Art,New York City | No Comments
After almost losing a finger in a workshop accident, artist Nao Matsumoto  meditated on the importance of the middle finger as a gesture of expressing discontent. Channeling reactions to news about the “nuclear meltdown”  in Fukushima , Matsumoto targeted institutions that he felt needed to take responsibility, like TEPCO . In collaboration with photographer Masakazu Miura, the New York-based artist created finger-shaped candles to be snapped burning outside a pre-selected targets, to “send a message” to authorities.
‘The Silent Protest’ has evolved from a lucky escape to a thoughtful expression of rage and fear. This ongoing project not only explores the human impulse of the gesture, but also its use in communication. “Without it,” Matsumoto says, “would be like losing your voice.”
“As the candles burn,” he notes, “the middle finger melts away, leaving a sadly deformed stump of a hand. It’s symbolic of the human tendency to only be able to communicate after things are badly damaged.”
Matsumoto plans to continue pledging support for Japan’s Anti-Nuclear Energy movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement in NYC. He is also supporting anti-animal cruelty protests, using the candles to “stick the middle finger to someone” in a vigil.
For more of his work take a look at his latest sculpture exhibition, on show currently at hpgrp gallery  in NYC through May 12.
+ Nao Matsumoto 
+ hpgrp Gallery 
Images courtesy of Masakazu Miura
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 Nao Matsumoto: http://naomatsumoto.com/
 “nuclear meltdown”: http://inhabitat.com/tag/nuclear-meltdown/
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 TEPCO: http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/index-e.html
 hpgrp gallery: http://hpgrpgallery.com/newyork/
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