The Human Condition


In the face of severe personal and ongoing family crises, Bleifer turned to her art as a means of working through grief, rage, fear and awareness of her own mortality. Bleifer then began making molded papers from casts of her own face, arms, breast and shoulder, legs, and finally casts of her whole body. From this came the series of disembodied limbs entitled “Hiroshima” and also the series “Paper Becoming Crucifixion.”

– by Isabel Anderson, Paper Etiquette-Sandra Bleifer in Los Angeles, Visions Art Quarterly, Summer 1992


Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Project installation, 1994

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial

…yet art has always had the power to heal. This healing of the wound that still separates Japan and America is the task that the artist Sandy Bleifer has undertaken. …and [Bleifer] does not intend to second-guess history, passing judgments about the morality of dropping atomic bombs upon people of color. Instead the artist wishes simply to acknowledge the suffering of the Japanese. Only by facing their suffering can Americans begin the healing process – for the Japanese people and ourselves.

– J.S.M. Willette, Visions Magazine, PROFILE: THE ARTIST AS A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD, The Healing of Hiroshima in the Art of Sandy Bleifer

The Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Project traveled to 3 cities in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Honolulu and Berkeley) and 3 cities in Japan (Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Osaka).

At all the venues, the exhibition was supported by local community groups backed by their local leaders. The exhibitions were all accompanied by community and educational programs, and in San Francisco and Honolulu, site-specific dance performances were created for the exhibit. This highly moving performance created for the exhibition by the Iona Pear Dance Theatre (now known as the Iona Contemporary Dance Theater) took place in conjunction with the exhibition at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.


Circus – SMCC Department of Dance, 1989

Circus (costumes for a performance of Santa Monica College Dance Program) May 1989

The idea behind the performance was to show the psycho-social interactions of the performers in the circus as parallel to life situations (e.g. the ring master where one man controls a group of competitive felines).  Toward the end of the performance, the dancers take off their costumes (i.e. relinquish their role in the dynamics and revert back to who they are, basically, as individuals.