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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 October 9 - 15  > ‘Shuttered’ Aichi Triennale exhibit featuring freedom of expression reopens
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2019 October 9 - 15 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

‘Shuttered’ Aichi Triennale exhibit featuring freedom of expression reopens

October 9, 2019
The “After the ‘Freedom of Expression?’” exhibit in the Aichi Triennale 2019 reopened on October 8 after its two-month closure due to threats and political pressure.

The “freedom of expression” exhibit was forced to shut down just three days after the opening on August 1 in the wake of unjustifiable political pressure and violent threats targeting artworks in the exhibit such as the “Statue of a Girl” symbolizing victims of the wartime Japanese military “comfort women” system. Soon after the closure, concerned citizens and Triennale artists began making efforts to bring the removed exhibits back for the public to view.

The shuttered exhibit’s organizing committee has discussed with the Triennale organizing committee how to arrange the display of artworks and ensure the safety of visitors, and reached an agreement to reopen the “freedom of expression” section of the Triennale.

A 47-year-old woman living in Nagoya City visited the exhibit on the first day of the reopening. She said, “This is my first time to see the ‘Statue of a Girl’. When sitting by her side, I sensed immediately the creator’s message in every little part of her body. In addition, it was beneficial for me to exchange views on this artwork with other visitors.”

ARAI Yukihiro, artist and member of the “freedom of expression” organizing committee, said, “The unified efforts of concerned citizens and artists succeeded in pushing back against the unjust political censorship. This is rare in Japanese history. This experience will serve as a critical step in the progression of the history of expression.”

Citizens engaged in various activities, including a signature-collection drive and rallies, in protest against the temporary removal, commented on the return for public viewing of the artworks. A Nagoya citizen, Ono Masami, said, “This result was achieved because so many concerned individuals jointly raised their voices in protest and solidarity. We need to increase our efforts so that the exhibits can remain open until the end of the Triennale.” Another activist, Gushiken Kuniko expressed her determination to work even harder to oppose any and all historical revisionist movements.

Past related articles:
> Cultural agency’s panel member resigns in protest against cancellation of subsidy to Aichi Triennale [October 4, 2019]
> Gov't discourages artistic expression by withdrawing subsidies [September 26 & 27, 2019]
> Majority of Aichi Triennale artists call for reopening of ‘shuttered’ exhibition [August 7, 2019]
> Political pressure on exhibit of ‘statue of Korean girl’ in Aichi Triennale violates Constitution banning censorship: Koike [August 4&5, 2019]
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