Activist, writer Aileen Mioko Smith to give Q&A, discussion in Lawrence

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Aileen Mioko Smith, an environmental activist and writer known for her work to document the effects of mercury poisoning in Japan, will make two public appearances during her visit to Lawrence this week.

The Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Kansas is hosting Smith, who is also the founder and executive director of Green Action, a Kyoto-based anti-nuclear organization established 26 years ago, according to a news release from KU.


“Before starting Green Action, Smith worked with her partner and spouse, Life magazine photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, photographing the plight and fight for justice of Minamata disease victims in southern Japan,” according to the release. “As president of Aileen Archive, she is committed to disseminating her spouse’s photographic work on Minamata. She is also a 2014 recipient of the Nuclear-Free Future Award.”

The first public event this week will be a screening of the film “Minamata” and conversation with Smith. That’s set for 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St., and it is open to the public.

“‘Minamata’ is a biographical drama based on the book by the Smiths. Directed by Andrew Levitas, the film stars Johnny Depp as photographer Eugene Smith, who travels with Aileen Smith to Japan to document the devastating effects of mercury poisoning on the residents of a coastal community,” according to the release. Smith will hold a Q&A after the screening. The film runs almost two hours.

The second event, “Reminiscences: My Life with Eugene Smith,” is a discussion that will include Eugene’s retrospective exhibition “Let the Truth Be the Prejudice,” and his last photo essay on Minamata, according to the release. That is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Lee Study Center at Spencer Museum of Art. It is free to attend but space is limited, so attendees should RSVP at this link.

Smith’s plans also include visits to speak with students at KU and Haskell Indian Nations University Monday and Tuesday.

Visit this link and click the green bookmark icon to add the film screening/Q&A event to your Google, Apple, Outlook or other calendar.

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