The Aichi Triennale Organizing Committee has made public the cancellation of the special exhibition, After ‘Freedom of Expression?’, which is part of the ongoing international art exhibition, Aichi Triennale 2019 (in Nagoya City and Toyota City).
The cancellation followed certain politicians’ demand for the removal of Statue of Peace and other works from the exhibition.* Politicians had also mentioned of their need to reconsider public funding for such exhibitions. The organizers were subjected to a series of threats and harassment. This decision denied artists of their rights to exhibit works which address polemic perceptions of history, and robbed viewers of their rights to examine these works.
We, the Image and Gender Study Group, have been seeking, through research and criticism on visual culture and by promoting alternative expressions, the realization of a society equal and fair to all genders; not just women, but also including those who have been marginalized in history and society because of nationality, class, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. We have expectations for, and find significance in the fact that a public art exhibition, such as the Aichi Triennale, had aimed at gender equality and opportunity, and the realization of a space in which to express diverse points of views. It is such a shame that an opportunity for the free exchange of ideas was closed.
We strongly hope for the reopening of the exhibition, and space for discussion.
Image and Gender Study Group
August 5, 2019
Translator’s Note: Statue of Peace is commonly known as Sonyeosang in South Korea. Other works included those in which prints of the Showa emperor are burned.