Peace Statue exhibition at Dresden National Art Collection in Germany: Speechlessness—The loud Silence
On April 15, the National Art Collection of Dresden, Germany, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen held the unveiling ceremony of the Peace (Girl) Statue. This bronze statue is a replica of the Peace (Girl) Statue installed in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Korea in 2011. Another Peace (Girl) Statue on display at the museum is a replica of the statue placed on a bus seat to mark the 5th International “Comfort Women” Day in Seoul on August 14, 2017. Kim Seo-Kyung and Kim Un-Seong are sculptors of both statues.
This is the first time that two statues symbolizing the victims of the Japanese military sexual slavery system before and during WWII have been displayed in a museum in Europe. These two statues are part of the multi-media exhibition Sprachlosigkeit—Das laute Verstummen (‘Speechlessness—The loud Silence’ in English) highlighting egregious violence, including the Nazis’ killing of Jews and the Yugoslav Civil War. In responding to the question about this exhibition’s purpose, Director of the Saxon Ethnological Collection in Dresden Léontine Meijer van Mensch said, “Through this exhibition on ‘comfort women,’ we want the victims and their families of all forms of sexual violence to break their silence and share their experiences.”
Working closely with the museum, the Korea Verband, e.V. added these two statues and stories of “comfort women” to this exhibition displayed at Japanischer Palais in the museum: Kim* Hak-Soon’s testimony is included in this exhibition. Nataly Han, chairwoman of the Korea Verband, said that “comfort women” issues are basic human rights issues, not [political] issues between Korea and Japan.
The entire exhibition runs from 4/16 to 8/1, and the bronze statue of a young girl placed in the atrium of the collection will continue to be on display for a year. Click the museum site Museum der Trostfrauen (“Comfort women” Museum) for more information.
*In Korean, the last name comes before the first name.