Chang-Jin Lee is a Korean-born renowned visual artist who lives in New York City. Her multicultural background and experiences have provoked in her an interest to investigate the diverse cultural and social issues in our current era. In her artworks, she deals with identity, gender, globalism, nationalism, human trafficking, and religion. She has exhibited extensively at an international level including at The Queens Museum of Art (New York), The Kunstmuseum Bonn (Germany), and The Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale (Korea). She has also participated in artists residencies worldwide.
CONFLICT AREA / COUNTRY OF REFERENCE: KOREA, CHINA, TAIWAN, INDONESA, PHILIPPINES, NETHERLANDS
My project, Comfort Women Wanted, brings to light the memory of 200,000 young women, known as "comfort women," who were systematically exploited as sex slaves in Asia during WWII, and increases awareness of sexual violence against women during wartime. The 'Military Comfort Women System' was organized by the Japanese army on an industrial scale not seen before in modern history. This is the largest case of human trafficking in the 20th century yet, it never got acknowledged. In the 21st century, human trafficking has surpassed drug trafficking to become the second largest business in the world after arms dealing. I first began to pay attention to the "Comfort Women" issue in 2007 because of an article in the NYTimes. I decided to use the form of advertising to create artworks after finding historical advertisements in wartime newspapers, which is how it all began. When they couldn’t get volunteer prostitutes through the ad campaigns, women from across Asia were kidnapped or deceived and forced into sexual slavery. Most were teenagers, some as young as 11 years old, and were raped by as many as fifty soldiers a day at military rape camps, or "comfort stations." By some estimates only 30% survived the ordeal. The artworks involve billboards, prints, audio and video installations. The video is based on interviews with Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Filipino, and Dutch "comfort women" survivors, and a former Japanese soldier. My project focuses on creating international awareness and dialogue by helping the survivors reclaim their place in history.
Comfort Women Wanted,
Multichannel Video Installation, Dimension Variable, 2011, 09:36mins
© Artraker CIC 2014