info

Towards the last two months of my last visit to India in the spring of 2012, I encountered the Tibetan community in exile in India experiencing painful news of their people self-immolating in fire one after another in China-occupied Tibet. My experiences in the past visits in India (drawing a cremation site in Varanasi, documenting fire pits, cremation alters, and contemplating on life and death around fire) synchronized with this particular movement, an extreme way of ‘offering’ their bodies to ‘fire’ for asking freedom and peace.I could not help drawing large and small drawings as emotional response and with a sense of mourning.

After coming back to Vancouver, the self-immolation kept happening and I felt that my personal and professional task is not finished.

I have come back to India to continue to document and draw under the same theme. tomoyoihaya@hotmail.com

25 May 2024

Gwangju in May 오월의 광주 5月の光州

            Stars in our Hearts                       copyright Tomoyo Ihaya 2024  


Gwangju - May 1980

My 'tree' sister, Ms. Park Yanghee, witnessed Gwangju Democratic uprising in 1980
and protests for democracy lead by students after against the dictatorship government,
She lost some friends in protests.  

Every May since 2020, I message her and friends in Korea with a new drawing for Gwangju. 
I drew thinking lost lives living among stars sending love to their loved ones on the earth.
.
She replied:

'I can not say good bye to the May Gwangju.
Friends  have gone but ( they stay )with me in my heart now forever'

So in her heart, many starts are shining. 

And she keeps singing for them and for peace, freedom and love. 

Namu( Tree) unni (big sister) singing with Sang-rog oppa(big brother)'s piano.
"Songs in May' in Gwangju


'오월의 광주와 작별할 수 없다.

그들은 갔다.
하지만 지금은 나와 함께 영원히 있다‘

이 그림을 보고 박양희씨는 “1980년 5월 광주에서 돌아가신 동지들께 안녕이라고 말하지 않겠다. 그들은 내 가슴에 영원히 살아 있을 테니까라고” 말해주었습니다. 그녀는 1980년 한국 광주에서 독재정권의 군대가 민주화를 요구하는 학생들과 시민을 무참히 진압한 ’광주사건‘과 그 이후 학생운동의 폭풍 속에서 살아남은 사람입니다. 그때부터 계속 노래를 부르고 있어요.

이 그림은 희생된 사람들이 별이 되어 항상 지상에 사는 동지를 지켜보고 있다는 의미로 그렸는데, 그녀는 이 그림이 이별의 의미가 아니라 함께 살고 있다는 것이기도 하다고 메시지를 보냈습니다. 그녀의 마음에도, 동지를 잃고 아직도 슬픔을 안고 사는 사람들의 마음에도 많은 별이 빛나고 있는 것입니다.

저는 그때 광주에는 없었지만 2018년 인연으로 광주 땅을 따라 희생자 묘지에 가서 이야기를 듣고 5월이 되면 슬픔에 휩싸여 술을 마시고 노래를 부르는 사람들과 시간을 함께 했습니다. 그 후 매년 5월이면 신록의 광주를 그리워하며 한 폭의 그림을 그리게 되었습니다.


この絵を見てヤンヒー姐さんは、「(1980年の)5月の光州と亡くなった同志にさよならは言わない。彼らは私の胸に永遠に生きているから」と書いてきました。彼女は、韓国の光州で民主化と求める学生と市民が一体となり大規模なデモを起こし、独裁政権の軍隊に無残に鎮圧された「光州事件」とその後の学生運動の嵐の中を生き抜いた人です。その時からずっと歌を歌っています。

私は犠牲になった人たちが星になって、いつも地上に生きている同志を見守っているというイメージで描いたのですが、彼女がそう言ったときお別れの絵に見えたのだと感じました。だから空から降ってきて地上の同志の胸にやどっている星を描きたしました。彼女の心にも同志を失って未だ悲しみを抱えながら生きている人たちの心にも星がたくさん宿って輝いているのです。

私はその時の光州にはいなかったけど、2018年縁あって光州の地をおとづれて、犠牲者の墓地に参り、話を聞き、5月になると悲しみに包まれ酒を飲み歌を歌う人たちと時間を共にしました。それ以来毎年5月になると新緑の光州が浮かんできて、心がざわざわします。その実体験の苦しみや悲しみに自分の共感度は及ばないことは認識しつつ、5月に一枚絵を描くようになりました。




Gwangju Diary   Tomoyo Ihaya 2019     ( Copyright Tomoyo Ihaya 2024)

28 February 2024

Each Flame Each Life

 

                                                                        copyright - Tomoyo Ihaya 2024


March 10th, Tibetan Uprising Day is around corner again. It commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising which began on March 10th in Lhasa against the presence of the People's Republic of China in Tibet. 

Every year, all over the world, Tibetan people and their supporters gather and march on the street, raising slogans for freedom and return of their homeland. 

Last year, the piece of poem written in Tibetan came out from Tibet to people in exile around March 10th. It was read in front of the crowd both in Tibetan and Ensligh at the protest rally which I attended.

Later, I asked my poet/activist friend, Tenzin Tsundue, to re-translate it into English. 

Yesterday, February 27th, was the 15th anniversary of the first Tibetan self -immolation in Tibet*.

To remember each of over 160 people who self-immolated and in hope that their tragic sacrifices will not be in vain, I share the poem by the  unknown person in Tibet.  I also share this while praying all the lives which are lost every day on this earth due to unnecessary, ignorant and greedy war affairs. Nobody should have to go through the extreme suffering. 

Prayers for the true freedom and peace in Tibet and on this whole earth.  

_


Each Flame Each Life

Each Flame, each life

The living spirit of my countryman

Burnt in red flame,

Burnt for freedom,

The eternal flame in our ignorance.

When I see the flickering flames,

The heart burns,

Burns my soul.


When I see the flickering red flames,

My teardrops melts,

This cry breaks out.


Each flame each life

The living spirit of 

My country man burnt in red flames,

Burnt for freedom.


I have your treatment in my heart


When I see the flickering red flames,

My tear drops melt

This cry breaks out.


Each flame each life

The living spirit of my countryman

Burnt in red flames,

Burnt for freedom

- Unknown, March 2023, Translated by Tenzin Tsundue in April 2023


*Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the first Tibetan self-immolation in Tibet - Tapey, a money from Kirti monastery, set fire on himself on February 27, 2009.

Since 2009, more than 150 Tibetans have self immolated to protest against repression from the Chinese communist government (Text by Tsering Kyi la)

11 October 2023

Solo exhibition at Mie Garo, Japan


 


少し早めのお知らせです。十一月一日から五日まで三重県津市の三重画廊で個展をさせていただくことになりました。ほとんどの作品は春から夏いっぱい、迷ったり行き詰まったり光を見たり、一喜一憂しながら制作したものです。穴倉スタジオの床に這いつくばって制作した過程を思い起こすと、DMの山本賢司さんのお言葉は身に余るもので、恐縮しております()。パンデミック以来遠くなってしまったインドやラダックの風景や、宮澤賢治の世界観、尹東柱の詩が, 心から染み出して紙面に出てきてくれたように感じます。画力がついていっているかは?ですが。御忙しい毎日と察しますが、お近くにいらした際に、ご高覧いただけたら幸いです。English: This is a little early notice. I have a solo exhibit at Mie Gallery from  November 1st to the 5th in Tsu city, Mie ken, Japan.10 to 6 ( last day 10 to 5)18-19 Chuo, Tsu city, Mie ken, JapanMost of the work were produced during spring to summer in my YVR cave.It was quite a journey: joy and sorrow, stuck, and seeing threads of light.Landscapes of India and Ladakh, Kenji Miyazawa's view of the world, poems by Yun Dong-ju seemed to submerge naturally onto the surface of paper all together.Many of you live quite far, friends, but if you happen to be coming to this direction, please stop by.







Lights on the Earth

 

                                                                                                        copyright Tomoyo Ihaya 2023


Deeply saddened to hear yet another violence started. 

Babies, children, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandmothers.

Animals, birds and insects.

Flowers, plants and trees, those trees of wisdom

So many lives exploded in a second by a weapon created by human and operated by somebody's hand.


Who created those weapons? Who are making money on war?  Who are crying?


Civilians, who must have wished peaceful resolutions, freedom, and just a normal happy life at 'home' under the sky and the stars, lose their lives in flash.  

Please give safe passages and refuges for them, without taking their lives. 

                                                                                                copyright  tomoyo ihaya 2023


25 September 2023

Art news - In the Present Moment: Buddhism, Contemporary Art, and Social Practice, Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Alberta, Canada


A group exhibition ' In the Present Moment: Buddhism, Contemporary Art, and Social Practice' opened at Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Art Centre on September 14th.  Congratulations and gratitude to curators, Haema Sivanesan and Jacqueline Bell, and the preparatory team for their hard work. Congratulations to wonderful fellow artists🙏🏼(see ⬇️ )I am humbled that 17 drawings from ‘Drawings from Dharamsala’ are included in this exhibition.

Photos below are installation shots before adding captions (sent by Haema Sivanesan, the curator)




Each drawing was drawn dedicating to a fellow human who sacrificed his/her life for others' dignity and freedom.  I am glad their existences will be recognised in the different part of the world.Opening Sept. 14, 5-8pm @waterphillipsgallery in Banff

カナダのアルバータ州、バンフにあるバンフ・アート・センターのウォルター・フィリップス・ギャラリーで、『In the Present Moment: Buddhism, Contemporary Art, and Social Practice」が9月14日から始まりました。ヘマ・シヴァネサン キュレーションによる9人の作家のグループ展です。8人の作家さんの素晴らしいインスタレーションやビデオ、タブローと一緒に、「ダラムサラからの絵」の17点が展示されています。私は残念ながら行けませんが、もしバンフにいらっしゃる方がいたら、どうぞお立ち寄りください。それぞれの絵は利他の精神で自分の命を犠牲にして逝ってしまった人のことを思って描いたものです。:::---:::---:::---:::---:::---:::---:::---:::𝗜𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗠𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁: 𝗕𝘂𝗱𝗱𝗵𝗶𝘀𝗺, 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗔𝗿𝘁, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗣𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲Sameer Farooq, Robert Filliou, Tomoyo Ihaya (@tomoyoihaya), Haruko Okano (@okanoharuko), Tina Pearson (@pearstina), Chrysanne Stathacos (@chrysannestathacos108 ), Susan Stewart, Charwei Tsai (@charweitsai), Paul Walde (@paulwalde), and Lam WongCurated by Haema SivanesanSeptember 15 - December 13, 2023In the Present Moment: Buddhism, Contemporary Art, and Social Practice examines how artists in North America have drawn on Buddhism as a methodology of art practice. It considers how Buddhism has contributed to important developments in contemporary art including the dematerialization of the art object, a phenomenon that radicalized art production and was key to the development of conceptual art and participatory art practices. The exhibition demonstrates the cultural impact of Asia on North America and reflects on an ongoing history of cross-cultural encounter and exchange.Artist books, multiples and scores by George Brecht, Robert Filliou, Dick Higgins and Takako Saito; John Cage; Dick Higgins, George Brecht; Robert Filliou; Pauline Oliveros; Yoko Ono; and La Monte Young (ed).

https://www.banffcentre.ca/in-the-present-moment

16 September 2023

The stars and trees witnessed - Gwanju and Yun Dongju

                                                                                                     copyright Tomoyo Ihaya 2023

I came to know Gwangju, its history and the poet, Yun Dongju when I had a solo exhibition in Gwangju in 2018. This was an incident that came to real because of Mr. Jin Yongju,  a Korean writer and researcher on art and peace, found drawings on this blog. He followed and came to see my solo exhibition in Tokyo and arranged a solo exhibition in Korea in the same year. 

When I was in Gwangju,  a group of people helped together to install the exhibition called 'Empathy - Ninjye' showcasing my works on the theme of meaning of living and dying and empathetic compassion. Before I left there, they took me to an 'old' cemetery, where activists and victims of the democratic uprising in 1980. were buried. It knocked me down and I was in tears without word.  Since then, every year when May comes,  I think of Gwangju and draw drawings as my offering to them. 



At the opening of the exhibition, after hearing my schooling in Tokyo,  a woman came up to me and asked "Do you know Yun Dongju? ".
I said 'No, I do not".  She replied, "You went the same university as he did, how come you do not know about him?".  She was not upset but surprised.  My friend explained to me he was one of the most beloved poet in Korea. He lived during the war time, when Korean Peninsula was colonized by the Japanese military government and came to Japan to study at Rikkyo and Doshisha University. Because he was writing poems in Korean, which was prohibited at that time, he was arrested and imprisoned in Fukuoka. 
He died in that prison along with his cousin after being injected unknown chemical. 

When I returned Japan, I bought his poetry book ' The Sky, Wind, Stars and Poems' ( both in Japanese and Korean) and read it though.  I felt ashamed that I did not know about this poet while majoring in the literature. Since then I read his poems, learned more about the history of Korea (succession of hardship), and carry his book whenever I set for another travel.  Just as he lives in all Korean people's hearts, he lives in my heart too. 

Gwangju and Yun Dongju.  Whenever I draw something for Gwangju, Trees and Yun Dongju's stars appear. 




                                                                copy right tomoyo ihaya 2023


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwangju_Uprising  ( Gwangju Uprising)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yun_Dong-ju  (Yun Dongju)






 

14 August 2023

終わりでない終戦 The War was not over

                                To the Light                                       copyright tomoyo ihaya 2023


戦争の終わり
サイパン島の崖の上から
次々に身を投げた女たち。

美徳やら義理やら体裁やら
何やら。
火だの男だのに追いつめられて。

とばなければいけないからとびこんだ。
ゆき場のないゆき場所
(崖はいつも女をまっさかさまにする)

それがねえ
まだ一人も海にとどかないのだ。
15年もたつというのに
どうしたんだろう。
あの、
女。

1969年
石垣りん 『表札など』より


Cliff

The end of the war
from the top of a cliff on Saipan Island
Women who threw themselves one after another.

Virtue, duty, and appearance 
Whatever.
Chased by fire or men

They jumped in because they were forced to.
To a place where there is no place 
(Cliffs always turn women upside down)

You know what
Not a single woman had reached the sea yet.
It's been 15 years
What happened with them?

Woman。


1969

Poet: Ishigaki Lin 

From "Nameplate, etc."


_____________________________











'To the Light - for women'  @Hsinchu Art Village,  2022  ( a part)  



"To the Light - for Women" close up                           copyright  tomoyo ihaya 2023


 

5 August 2023

To the tree of a refuge 安息の木のもとへ

                                                                                                                   copyright Tomoyo Ihaya 2023
 

Since I was a child, August was not only about a summer holiday but also a month of reminder of 
the past tragedy. 

August 6th is a memorial day for Hiroshima.  August 9th is a memorial day for Nagasaki.

In both cities, after two 'drops' of the atomic bombs, over 200,000 were killed and wounded with one of the most brutal way. 

There were books at home about the war and colonisation focusing on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Nanjing Massacre, Unit 731, Kamikaze troops, Okinawa....thanks to my mother who was a librarian. I also was taken to an exhibition of Toshi and Iri Maruki's Genbaku Paintings.  All I read and saw were overwhelmingly sad for the little girl however they planted a seed in the little heart that any form of violence, wars and conflicts, was nothing but brutal and harmful to all living beings. 

Then August 15th is a day that the World War II was over.

For my country, it was a day that the nation lost the war. For other countries which were colonised by the Japanese military government, it was a day of liberation, which did not come easily as chaos and traumas left behind lead to a dictatorship or war. 

How many wars and conflicts we have witnessed and are witnessing at this moment after August 15 1945?Don't humans know enough about pain and sorrow that wars bring among us for generations?

August for me is to feel remorse and pray for lost souls in wish that a true reconciliation and peace comes to this world.  

I vision we all walk together in silent to the Peace Tree. 




Note: This tree exist in real. It is a tree called Peace Tree in Haje Village, Gunsan, South Korea.

" It is now the Pentagon's land, and it can be passed over to the U.S. military at any time. That would expand the U.S. military base.  The U.S. military base in Gunsan is still increasing weapons and construction is underway. "  Info from my Korean friend, who is a social and peace activist. 

People gather around this tree to sing and dance, an act of a peaceful protest against expansion of the military base. 










20 July 2023

From a Dark Night, a Bright Morning Comes 2




                                     To Live 1                                         copyright Tomoyo Ihaya 2023


It has been more than three years since I started researching the history of women in trans-generational conflicts, especially during the time of the Japanese military government's colonization in Asia.  

The inspiration came when I visited Taiwan and South Korea to hold exhibitions, hold workshops and attend residencies between 2017 – 2019. My visits to Korea and Taiwan in 2019 were a particularly strong catalyst to start learning in depth about women in trans-generational conflicts during WWII and in the post-war time throughout the 20th century.  

 

Why women and this heavy and complex theme? 

 

I became friends with many women through daily interactions in Gwangju, Korea, and Hsinchu and Taichung in Taiwan.  

The women I met taught me about the history of pain and struggles for obtaining democratic freedom in their countries. I saw their tears while they shared their personal stories. A few lost their loved ones during protests. Even though they carried sadness in their hearts, they continued to be activists.  

 

When I learned about their post war histories, I intuitively felt that their sufferings are continuations of collective traumas from the Japanese colonization period. I started reading more about the war time in Asia, especially about the modern history of Taiwan and Korea. I knew general facts about the war and colonization, but did not know details.  

 

There was a statue of a girl near the gallery where I had an exhibition in Gwangju. The statue was a memorial to the victims of the sexual slavery that was forced upon thousands of women who had to serve Japanese soldiers during World War II. I would pass by in front of her to while going to the gallery, or returning from a nearby public bath, where I became friends with local aunties.  

I felt sad and heavy as a person of the same gender, and as a person who was from the very country which had exploited and abused so many women during the occupation.  

 

Because of my encounters with these women and the statue, I decided to research about the history of women.  

 

Speaking about  the issue that is called 'Comfort Women' (I do not feel this wording is right) is very sensitive and difficult because of complex social and political conflicts up to the present day.  

 

However, as I felt and shared thoughts and cried tears with my fellow female friends in Taiwan and South Korea, I wanted to focus more and more on the 'grand mothers' lives by reading their real, painful stories. They spoke up, wishing that this would never happen again to other women (the late Harumoni Bog-don Kim said that clearly).  

 

Knowing that violence against, and exploitation of women continues on so many levels in every part of the world, I wanted to make something to bring healing and empathy, yet I feel I am still searching how to do this. I keep wondering how we can feel the pain of others, pain and bring collective healing, and ease suffering for all fellow sentient beings.





                                             To Live 2                                            copyright Tomoyo Ihaya 2023


                                                  To Live 3                              copyright Tomoyo Ihaya 2023
 


28 October 2022

Exhibition "After a Dark Night - through darkness, water remembers' @ Hsinchu Railway Art Village in Hsinchu city, Taiwan


 ‘After a Dark a Night - Throw Darkness, Water Remembers
From October 25 to November 13  2022Opening: October 30th at 14:00Workshop: November 5 at 14:00 to 16:00(Mixed media painting and paper flower making)

The exhibition consists of a new body of mixed media installation and drawings. In addition, there will be a body of original drawings that were shown at Ho Tam Press's News Room in Vancouver early summer in 2022. Please see the statement in English at the of this post if you have time and interest.)

Artist acknowledges support from Canada Council for the Arts, Hsinchu City Cultural Bureau, and ACCTON Arts Foundation. 
「暗闇を流れる水の記憶」

展示期間:10月25日−11月13日

新竹鉄道アートビレッジ

オープニング:10月30日 14:00ワークショップ: 11月5日 14:00 to 16:00 (ミックスト・メディアの小作品と紙の花をつくる予定)中文⬇開幕: 十月三十日 14:00工作坊:十一月五日14:00 to 16:00

井早智代個展來了,今起限定20天,就在新竹鐵道藝術村。這次展出作品涵蓋近10年來,她針對自焚藏人、慰安婦、民運、難民和船民所做的紀錄。度過充滿祝福的下午,每次都能透過她扎實的作品靜心,獲得力量與療癒,然後繼續前進。本週末有開幕活動,緊接著就是工作坊,值得期待。以下為展覽資訊:https://fb.me/e/3F4DW7R0z展覽名稱|暗夜過後 Through Darkness, Water Remembers |井早智代個展展覽地點|新竹市鐵道藝術村-人文休憩區展覽日期|2022年10月25日(二)- 2022年11月13日(日)開幕日期|2022年10月30日(日)下午2:00▎節錄自藝術家展覽自述 ▎(全文請見此連結:https://reurl.cc/2m1q1X)展覽的計畫緣起,始於我2017-2019年間走訪了台灣和韓國。2019年我獲得一個機會,以兩國的歷史悲劇、人權迫害、自由民主等議題來創作並展出。這些議題包含台灣於1947-1987年間發生的228事件、白色恐怖,以及1980年的韓國光州民主化運動。而2019年的展出機會,又是因為我從2012年起,持續不斷以西藏人權議題所創作的系列「來自德蘭薩拉的圖畫」相互連結。------------當你忘記時,我迷足黑暗。當你原諒時,我自由如水。手足,手足,手足,當我們記起時,我們相聚相依。編號,編號,編號,當我們遺忘時,我們支離破碎。節錄自zine 《路徑 volume 6 》賴雯淑 詩作《原諒是為了給予,遺忘是為了拿取》------------我們可以為這些受到傷害的人和地球上的大家所做的,即是記住他們並把他們放在心上,以不同的形式把他們的故事傳承下去。即便這次的展覽是我這兩年創作的最後一次呈現,但它距離完整還差距甚遠。我做的田野調查以及資料查閱,都僅是水池中的一瓢水。如果,每一個人包含我自己可以不斷去承認、表達,向世界的傷痛伸出援手,那我們就可以把稱之為希望的容器填滿。|工作坊|井早智代的正念創作工作坊 – 路徑,走過百川時間|2022/11/5 (六) 14:00-16:00地點|新竹市鐵道藝術村人數|10人,歡迎10歲以上的朋友報名參加費用|本活動智邦藝術基金會贊助,免費參加材料|主辦方會提供紙張、基本水彩顏料、筆刷和膠水;歡迎參與者也自備自己喜歡的材料▎工作坊介紹 ▎綜觀人類歷史和當下,世界各地不管是因為來自外部還是內在勢力,侵犯人權、暴力和虐待等行為不斷上演。此時此刻,世界因強烈的貪婪而混亂,許多人感到不知所措、絕望和心碎。為什麼我們破壞和傷害同胞,而不是和平共處並尊重彼此的文化?我們需要找到方法來平息和平靜思緒,敞開心扉,作為對世界的回應。世界上還有很多美麗的事物和心靈,值得我們把它發展得更深更廣;而或許用正念來創作藝術就是方法之一。這場工作坊我們把重點放在和內心自己及工作坊的參與者對話;嘗試討論「和解、療癒、同理和永續」。我們將會一起完成3件事1. 短暫靜默冥想,為彼此祝福 (不帶有任何宗教色彩)2. 一起用水彩、剪貼、縫紉的方式創作一張小作品3. 一起製作小紙花(如同上次展覽上的展出作品)工作坊的參與者最後可以將作品和小紙花帶回家。▎藝術家簡介 ▎井早智代出身於日本三重縣,目前定居於加拿大溫哥華,她從2000年開始獲得加拿大的永久居留證。井早智代的作品曾在南韓、臺灣、泰國、日本、印度、墨西哥、加拿大和美國展出,並同時包含國內外的公共或私有藝術收藏。她也曾參與過許多垮國駐村計畫並榮獲加拿大國家藝術委員會、英屬哥倫比亞藝術委員會的獎金支持。井早畢業於東京的立教大學(Rikkyo University),並有著加拿大亞伯達阿爾伯塔大學(University of Alberta)的碩士學位。➤AAF智邦藝術基金會 |https://aafoundation.tw/➤新竹市鐵道藝術村|新竹市東區花園街64號➤營業時間 | 10:00~18:00(週一休館)➤電話 | 03 562 8933
(caption written by YoYo, thank you~~brother)

copyright tomoyoihaya2022
               copyright tomoyo ihaya

Through Darkness, Water Remembers                                        Tomoyo Ihaya 

 

This exhibition is the second phase of what was shown at Hsinchu Railway Warehouse in the beginning of 2022. I could not enter Taiwan so after a discussion with the director of ACCTON Arts Foundation, Yu-hsuan Lee, we decided to present the works in progress without my presence, and later to exhibit more developed works when I could enter Taiwan and produce additional art works on site.  

 

The initial inspiration to start on this project came during and after my visits to  

Taiwan and Korea between 2017 and 2019.  In 2019, I was given the opportunities to create and exhibit works on both countries’ tragic history and struggle for human rights and democratic freedom, such as the 228 Incident and White Terror in Taiwan from 1947 to 1987 and the democratic uprising in Gwangju, Korea in 1980. These opportunities resulted from a similar series of works ‘Drawings from Dharamsala’ that I have produced, since 2012, on Tibetan human rights issues.  

 

During my visits, I met many women friends who devoted their lives to social activism. A few of them experienced the deaths of loved ones during struggles for democracy and freedom in both countries. 

 

Another significant  encounter was with a statue of a girl, which I passed by daily on the way to the Gallery during my residency and exhibition in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. It was built as a memorial for ‘comfort women’ victims during the Japanese colonization.  I gazed at her face many times and felt heavy about what complex sufferings the military government then of my country caused.  

 

These meetings inspired me to make a body of works about ‘women’. I hoped to make something that was not politically biased but that expressed forms of ‘feeling pain and wishing for reconciliation’ as a fellow woman.  

____ 

 

In addition, since the beginning of this year, my thoughts have extended to other parts of the world and histories, because, at the present moment, wars, violent oppression, human trafficking, revealed cultural genocides, refugee crisis, protests against injustice, and natural catastrophes are happening simultaneously.   

 

I see many faces in the news, which are shedding tears and distressed.  

 

I read stories of killing and deaths.  

 

I imagine fellow women who were swallowed by the power, greed, and discrimination in the past and overlap their faces with those faces who are suffering at this moment.

  

The past, which is not fully resolved and in which many have died without getting justice and reconciliation, is not the past.   

What we witness now in the world is continuum of the past. 

 

We are members, Not Numbers 

 

When you for-get, I am lost in the dark. 

When you for-give, I am free like water. 

Member,member, member, we are together when we re-member. 

Number, number, number, we are divided when we dis-remember.  

 

(Excerpt from For-giving, for-getting by Wen-Shu Wendy Lai, Vol 6 of Paths, 2021) 

 

Remembering and carrying them in our hearts through different means of expressions arewhat we can do for them and for all of us living on this earth.  

 

Although this exhibition is the final presentation of what I have been working on for two years, it is far from complete.  The field trips and reading that I have done are just a little scoop of water from the pool.   However, if many other people including myself can keep acknowledging, expressing, and reaching hands further to the wounds of the world, water gets full in the vessel called hope for the future.