This past weekend, an art exhibition titled 'After 'Freedom of Expression?'' which opened just 3 days earlier at the 'Aichi Triennale' in Nagoya, Japan was forced to shut down - due to the fact that one piece on display by two Korean female artists told the story of Korean comfort women.
The art piece, titled 'Statue of a Girl of Peace' by Kim Seo Kyung and Kim Eun Sung, takes inspiration from Korean comfort women memorial statues. After the 'Aichi Triennale' exhibit opened last week, the event was met with heavy criticism from government figures as well as Japanese media outlets, and ultimately, the entire exhibit was shut down per order by the region's governor.
Many suspect that growing tensions between Japan and Korea's governments over exported goods restrictions, land disputes, etc played a key role in the public's negative reaction to this art piece.
Meanwhile, fellow female artists are calling the government's decision to close down the exhibition as an act of censorship, as ironically, the 'After 'Freedom of Expression?'' exhibit itself consisted of a collection of artworks which were censored from various galleries in Japan over the years.
Now, female artists from around the world have started a protest movement regarding the exhibit's closure, choosing to photograph themselves in similar positions as the comfort women art piece. One artist commented, "It wasn't jus Korean women who were enslaved by Japanese soldiers, it was women from all over Asia."
Artists from around the world who also participated in the 'After 'Freedom of Expression?'' exhibit have chosen to sign a petition, demanding that the exhibit be reopened.