First published in the July 23 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
Glendale Library, Arts and Culture, along with the ReflectSpace Gallery, located in the Glendale Central Library, 222 E. Harvard St., will present “Modes of Resistance: Legacies of Colonialism and ‘Comfort Women,’” a transdisciplinary exhibit co-curated by Monica Hye Yeon Jun and Ara and Anahid Oshagan.
Featured artists include Korean artists Jin-woo Kim, In-sang Kwak, Han Ho and Bora Lee. The exhibit will run from July 30 to Oct. 9.
“Modes of Resistance” commemorates and pays homage to both the former “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery, and the afterlives of Japanese colonial rule and subsequent wars in Korea — the effects of which are still felt nearly 70 years later. The four artists imagine new modes to speak to this legacy of violence and, through their work, seek pathways of resistance and healing. Reproductions of paintings of former “comfort women” from artist Duk Kyung Kang will be on display in the PassageWay Gallery, also in the central library.
An opening reception for the exhibit will be held in the ReflectSpace Gallery on Saturday, July 30, at 5 p.m., beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a walkthrough of the exhibit, followed by a commemoration ceremony in the Central Library Auditorium, with a Korean drumming performance by the Hwarang Youth Foundation. The Hwarang Youth Foundation will also be leading drumming workshops in the library auditorium from 1-5 p.m.
Before and during World War II, more than 200,000 young women and girls from Korea, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and East Timor were sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Military. Despite the brutality of their situation, these women are universally referred to as “comfort women.”
“In Search of the Lost Heart” by Kim is a re-imagining of the greatest military creation in Korean history, transformed into a symbol of resistance to Japanese colonialism and violence. Kim’s ship is formidable and color-laden. It carries the silhouettes of a young woman and a butterfly on its tower and has interactive LED light features that are activated by a motion sensor placed in the ship’s tower.
Kwak participates in “Modes of Resistance” with a digital media augmented reality project. The mobile-device activated project depicts the back of a young woman next to an empty chair — echoing the Comfort Women statue in Central Park in Glendale.
Artist Ho’s “Eternal light – 21c The Last Judgment” addresses epic metaphysical issues. The large multi-panel work is drawn from Michelangelo’s masterpiece, “The Last Judgment.” Ho’s work riffs off Michelangelo’s core ideas of good and evil, constructing the afterimage of humankind as exposed to the dangers of colonization, violence and nuclear annihilation.
Lee’s “” is made of fabric, overlapping and repeatedly dispersing lines and lineages. Her work takes shape along a thin and invisible line between memory and anxiety and speaks to much of recent Korean history.
The four Korean artists in “Modes of Resistance” create work deeply entrenched in the history of colonization, women’s rights, slavery and social issues, while also reflecting on the urgencies of resistance today. The exhibition is supported by the Korean Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Women’s Human Rights Institute of Korea, and Research Institute on Japanese Military Sexual Slavery.
As part of a pilot “Open Studio” program at ReflectSpace, Ho and Kim will be artists in residence at ReflectSpace from July 22 through July 28. They will be working on their art projects, and library patrons are encouraged to observe their work and interact with the artists.
The ReflectSpace Open Studio schedule is available at reflectspace.org.