CONTROVERSIAL “COMFORT WOMEN” EXHIBITION CLOSES IN TOKYO
By Miryam Rodriguez
Ahn is not alone in using his art to spread awareness of this still unresolved issue. Korean-American Chang-Jin Lee recently brought her exhibition “Comfort Women Wanted,” which includes video works based on interviews with a former Japanese soldier and comfort women survivors, to 1a Space in Hong Kong—which, incidentally, had its own “comfort stations” under Japanese wartime occupation. Speaking to ArtAsiaPacific during her exhibition in February, Lee said she hoped to one day bring her work to Tokyo. Commenting by email last week however, she stressed the need for a human rather than political approach: “The former Asian and European ‘comfort women’ spoke out because they had had enough of Japan’s denial. These women became a symbol of courage and inspiration. If only Japan would simply acknowledge the history and try to prevent future exploitation of women and girls, the world would respect Japan as a defender of human rights. If all people could approach this issue from a humanistic, rather than nationalistic point of view, the problem could be resolved.”
Expecting around 1,000 visitors, when the exhibition closed as scheduled on July 9, Ahn estimates it had attracted around five times that number, which he readily admits was probably due to the attempts by Nikon to close it in the first place.