Sunday, 27 March 2011

"Comfort Women"

Yesterday I went to a screening of the documentary 63 Years On: The Story of the Comfort Women, by Kim Dong-won who received an award for the film in 2008. The documentary tells the horrific experiences of five women who were abducted by the Japanese military during World War II, to function as "comfort women" -- sex slaves, who were numerous times per day by Japanese soldiers over a number or years. According to some estimates there were about 200 000 such victims, of which a large percentage were Korean women.

The screening was shown by The House of Sharing, which is an organization that includes both a museum that tells the story of this tragedy and a home where some of the Korean victims reside. The House of Sharing organizes numerous events to inform people of the events that occurred, to which the Japanese Government has still not admitted responsibility or given a formal apology, and raise funds for the upkeep of the museum and provisions for the halmoni (grandmothers) that live at the centre.

One event planned by the House of Sharing for May is an art exhibit. I'm considering participating in the exhibit. Below is a pre-sketch I did this morning. I'm thinking of using the 'samurai' figure as a symbol for the ultimate Japanese warrior that completely overbears the canvas and so show the intimidation and power over the small girl, which I'll depict in the foreground.

I'm also thinking of doing some sexually explicit drawings almost in a Shunga style. I don't want to show any penetration and may actually leave the female figure out all together. I'm thinking of depicting the phallus of the man -- maybe also in Samurai outfit -- as a type of spear-like weapon. What I don't want to do is "eroticise" the drawings and so "exploit" the sexual tragedy in any way. Even the picture above, with the girl depicted nude, may need to be adapted so that the picture does not become erotic. On the other hand, the topic is "sexual crimes" after all, so while I want to stay away from romanticising the erotic, I don't necessarily want to avoid a sexual tone altogether. It will require careful planning and probably many drafts. I hope I can organise my time so that I can actually participate in the art exhibit. Paintings would be great, but they take a lot of time. I might settle for sketches in charcoal, ink, or pastel instead.


Christine said...

It's a shame how those women were exploited just so some others could have their fun. The emotional impact never left them.

I do think it's great when art can make a statement. I do wish I could draw. I can only make stick figures. I'd like to see your pictures when you are done.

Skryfblok said...

I will probably publish the pictures here on the blog as well.

Drawing is a skill that can be learned. The first step is to study how to "see" and then practise in converting what we see into figures on paper. Start by looking for the underlying geometric shapes you see in something and draw only those shapes.

Mary-Jane said...

A very provocative topic - I'd also like to see the end result of your drawings...

Skryfblok said...

I'll try my best to do something for the exhibition.