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Banned comfort women art on display in Taipei

Controversial works by Korean, Japanese artists exhibited at MOCA Taipei after being censored in Japan

The "Non-freedom Expression Exhibition" kicks off at MOCA Taipei (MOCA photo)

The "Non-freedom Expression Exhibition" kicks off at MOCA Taipei (MOCA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A contemporary art exhibition looking at forbidden artworks from Japan and Korea opened Saturday (April 21) at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Taipei) and will run through June 7.

The "Non-Freedom of Expression Exhibition — A Long Trail for Liberation" will showcase six collections of Japanese and Korean artworks that were censored in those countries, according to MOCA. The works center on war crimes, the Japanese monarchy, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.

The museum said that the exhibition originated from a controversial incident in 2012 when Japanese multinational Nikon canceled Korean photographer Ahn Sehong's (安世鴻) exhibition themed around comfort women, or women and girls who were forced into sexual service for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II. Three years later, supporters of Sehong hosted the first edition of the "Non-Freedom of Expression Exhibition" to display the forbidden works, said MOCA.

The 2015 show gathered interest and was exhibited at Japan's Aichi Triennale 2019 (日本愛知三年展). However, the Japanese government forced the expo to close after just three days, and it later reopened for only six days. The curating team even received death threats after the exhibition took place.

This year's "Non-Freedom of Expression Exhibition" was curated by Arai Hiroyuki (新井博之) and Okamoto Yuka (岡本有佳). In addition to Ahn Sehong, the lineup includes fellow Korean artists Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung as well as Shimada Yoshiko (嶋田美子), Nagahata Koji, Shirakawa Yoshio, and Toyoda Naomi from Japan.

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