Initiative AEW (IAEW) is a social and cultural action to cultivate further the public culture through arts for community engagement and empowerment. These interventions are designed to be made by and for the community, with the goal of creating meaningful and impactful experiences that promote social and cultural awareness and a change to come. Mobilizing the power of the arts, Initiative Arts East-West seeks to inspire individuals to take an active role in shaping their communities, while also fostering a greater sense of connectedness and belonging. Through this initiative, Arts East-West and the KFFC continue to create a vibrant and inclusive society that celebrates the diversity and creativity of all its members.
KFFC is proud to declare May 18th as “K-Arts-Day”. This is in line with commemoration of the Democratic Uprising struggles that broke out on May 18 in Korea (1980), which honors the brave Korean civilians who gave their lives for democracy in Korea by challenging the military dictatorship.
The peaceful protest known as the May 18th Uprising marked a pivotal moment in South Korean history, as it challenged the military dictatorship and was brutally suppressed by government forces. Despite the tragedy, this event represented the South Korean people’s resolute commitment to fighting for democracy and human rights, ultimately paving the way for democratization. Commemorating and celebrating this important day through the arts is crucial in honoring the sacrifices made by those who fought for democracy, and inspiring younger generations to carry on their legacy. It represents the strength of the people and their desire for freedom and democracy.
STATUE OF PEACE
“The Statue of the Girl of Peace” by Kim Seo-Kyung and Kim Eun-SungOil on fiberglass-reinforced polyester (FRP) and stone powder 160 x 180 x 125 cm (the original bronze statue 2011)
KFFC10 presented the powerful sculpture “The Statue of the Girl of Peace” by Kim Seo-Kyung and Kim Eun-Sung at the McCord Stewart Museum, in collaboration with OCAD Professor and filmmaker Min Sook Lee. This significant art installation, brought to Montreal as part of its nationwide tour, was showcased during KFFC 10 on May 26th, 27th, and June 4th. Alongside the sculpture, a screening of the film COMFORT by Emmanuel Moonchill Park was featured.
During the exhibition, visitors were invited to sit beside the Girl and capture memorable photos. By sharing these pictures on social media using the hashtags #statueofpeace and #justiceforcomfortwomen, participants played a crucial role in raising awareness about the historical injustice faced by ‘comfort women’ during World War II. We encourage everyone to explore further information about this serious matter.
The Meaning Behind Statue of Peace
During WWII the Japanese military abducted an estimated 200,000 girls and women from across the Asia-Pacific region who were euphemistically called “comfort women” and forced into sexual slavery. In 2011 artists installed the bronze ‘Statue of Peace’, created on the occasion of the 1000th protest of the Wednesday demonstrations in front of the Japanese embassy where it remains today.
The empty chair beside the statue is an invitation to the public to sit beside the Girl and support the call for redress for the so- called ‘comfort women’. They will be invited to take a photo and share it on social media using the hashtags:
The artists’ work addresses repressed histories and social injustice. Kim Eun-Sung’s work highlights human alienation, and Kim Seo-Kyung’s work represents fragmented aspects of human life and daily happiness. In all their works, empathy is a central theme. This is a continuation of our Festival founder and Artistic Director, Mi Jeong Lee’s 2019 installation art project, “La Chaise / The Chair: No Wars No Comfort Women.” Commissioned by the International Women’s Alliance.