Daegu Photography Biennale 2014: Women In War

Daegu Photography Biennale, hosted and supervised by the Daegu Art Center, is the only South Korea's only photo biennale kicking off from October 2006 in Daegu with well-fostered photography culture; it is one of the three representative biennales certified by MCST in 2018, together with Busan and Gwangju, and the largest photograph festival in Asia.

Korea – The theme of the 2014 Daegu Photography Biennale is ‘The Memory of Photographs.’ The special exhibit ‘Women in War‘ embodies two memories. One of them is ‘The Memory of War’ as captured by 11 female photographers amid gunfire, spanning from the Vietnam War to Nicaragua in Central America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and even the Gaza Strip and Israel where bombings and massacres continue to this day in 2014. The other is ‘The Memory of The Truth’ by American, Taiwanese, Japanese, Chinese and Korean photographers depicting the insufferable lives and hardships of WWII comfort women.

Battle for Hill 881Battle of Hill 881, US Marine Vernon Wike, with a dying comrade, near Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, April 30, 1967 © Catherine Leroy

‘Women in War’ has as its first theme ‘The Memory of War“. With over 200 works by 11 female photographers from England, France, America and Korea, it begins with the memories of the Vietnam War once dubbed as a war with no front line. It then offers images of the memory of wars, arranged by continent and era, in places such as Latin America, Somalia, Rwanda, Congo, Iraq, the former Yugoslavia, Kashmir on the border between India and Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Gaza Strip where war is currently taking place. Participants include Catherine Leroy, Susan Meiselas, Maggie Steber, Alexandra Boulat, Yunghi Kim, Andrea Bruce, Paula Bronstein, Ami Vitale, Alixandra Fazzina, Heidi Levine, Jean Chung.

In the summer of 1991, the long silence about the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese Army in WW2 was broken. The truth about the sexual slaves used as a military strategy in the Pacific War came to light. History is dialogue between the past and present as it moves into the future. More than a painful memory for its victims but a wound on the history of the world and an unresolved issue going forward, the second theme of the exhibit is ‘The Comfort Women’. This ‘Memory of Truth’ explores the past and future for the women who must live with the painful experience euphemistically called Comfort Women wrought in the maelstrom of war. Photographic works from not only Korean but Japanese, American, Taiwanese, and Chinese photographers attempt to face up to the continuing legacy of the now elderly women who were victims of this inhumane crime. Participants include Yunghi Kim, Qinggang Chen, Tzu-ming Huang, Itoh Takashi, Sehong Ahn, Jinhyun Cha, Dongphil Shin, Haeryong Ahn.

The Daegu Photography Biennale 2014 opens on 12th September 2014 and runs till 19th October 2014.

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