US artist recreates ‘comfort station’

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 - Page 3

Korean-born US artist Lee Chang-jin has created a “comfort station” in Taipei, part of an exhibition aimed at drawing attention to the issue of women forced to serve in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

Called “Comfort Women Wanted,” Lee’s series of works recreates the experiences that hundreds of thousands of young women across Asia were forced to undergo during the war.

“Now it’s our time to find a way to keep this very important history alive,” Lee said yesterday, adding that the number of former comfort women alive today is steadily decreasing.

What makes the Taipei exhibition unique is a room made to look like a comfort station based on historical references. On display are a kimono, which would be worn by a comfort woman, a tatami, a wash bowl and plaques with the Japanese name given to the comfort woman kept there.

Lee pointed to footage of comfort stations in China and Indonesia and posters depicting former comfort women from Taiwan, Korea and the Netherlands.

The New York-based artist has held similar exhibitions in South Korea, Hong Kong and the US.

She has traveled across Asia to learn more about the comfort women system and interview the women.

“It was truly inspiring and a great honor for me to meet them,” she said, describing them as amazing people who were “so strong, resilient and courageous survivors; at the same time, loving and caring grandmas.”

Organized by the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation, the show will run through Feb. 16 at the Bopiliao Historic Block in Taipei.