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Statue of ‘comfort women’ pulled from Japan exhibit finds new home

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MADRID (Reuters) – A Spanish businessman has purchased a statue symbolizing girls compelled to work in Japanese army brothels which was eliminated from an exhibition in Japan after organizers acquired threats over the piece.

Photo taken by Kyodo in Nagoya, Japan, August 3, 2019, exhibits a statue symbolizing “comfort women,” who had been compelled to work in wartime Japanese army brothels. Kyodo by way of REUTERS

The “Statue of a Girl Of Peace” symbolizes the “comfort women”, a euphemism referring to girls, many of them Korean, compelled into the brothels earlier than and through World War Two.

Estimates differ, however historians say hundreds of girls could have been concerned. There are at present 20 survivors registered with the South Korean authorities and the topic stays a delicate one in each nations and elsewhere in Asia.

The work was eliminated after it attracted “terror threats” by way of phone and e mail as quickly because it went on show this month on the Aichi Triennale artwork exhibition, Aichi Prefecture Governor Hideaki Omura instructed a information convention on August 3.

Businessman Tatxo Benet mentioned he plans to show the work, which depicts a younger girl carrying a standard Korean costume sitting on one of two wood chairs, in a “Freedom Museum” he plans to open in Barcelona as early as subsequent yr.

Benet, founder of soccer rights firm Imagina (Mediapro), mentioned the museum would exhibit round 60 items of art work which have been censored in numerous components of the world.

“A year and half ago I began buying artwork censured around the world for different reasons whether political, ethical, moral or sexual,” Benet instructed Reuters in a phone interview.

After studying concerning the furor attributable to the statue in Japan, he purchased it final week, he mentioned.

“I think I have enough material for a permanent exhibition center and perhaps even a documentation and archive center about censorship in the art world,” Benet mentioned.

His assortment features a Lego brick portrait by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, a satirical portray of Donald Trump by Illma Gore and a video by David Wojnarowicz censored by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington.

From Spain, the exhibit will embrace a set of footage of jailed Catalan separatist leaders which was eliminated from Madrid’s ARCO artwork truthful final yr.

Organizer Ifema mentioned on the time that the controversy surrounding the images was hurting the visibility of different artwork works, a proof which sparked complaints from separatist political events and the left-wing Podemos social gathering.

Editing by Ashifa Kassam and Jason Neely

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