Kathe Kollwitz’s art exhibition held in Beijing

Kathe Kollwitz’s art exhibition held in Beijing

Experts from Okinawa, China, South Korea and Taiwan participated in the symposium, discussing new exchanges in East Asian countries at the Lu Xun Museum in Beijing on September 17.


September 18, 2011 Shoichiro Yonamine, reporter of Ryukyu Shimpo, in Beijing

An exhibition of art works by Kathe Kollwitz in the possession of the Sakima Art Museum is being held at the Lu Xun Museum in Beijing from September 17 to October 9 to celebrate the 130th anniversary of birth of Lu Xun, a major Chinese writer of the 20th century.

Kathe Kollwitz is a German painter, printmaker, and sculptor whose works were highly influential in the first half of the 20th century, embracing as they did the victims of poverty, hunger, and war.

A symposium was also held in relation to the exhibition. Experts from Okinawa, China, South Korea and Taiwan participated, discussing how the messages that Kollwitz’s works of art deliver overlap with the thinking of Okinawan people, who have experienced war and have resisted oppression. They further develop discussion on how East Asian countries that have experienced colonialism might build relationships in the new era.

It is said that Kollwitz’s thinking and artistic persona was strongly influenced by Lu Xun.

Fifty-eight of her works, including block prints and sculptures, are displayed in the exhibition which many people have enjoyed viewing.

Sun Ge, a researcher of the Literature Research Institute of the China Academy of Social Studies, doubts that the Chinese people of today would be able to get back to the kind of profound self-observation advocated by Lu Xun, saying, “We would like to start again with Okinawa as a springboard.”

Sun Ge continued, “Despite having encountered tremendous hardships, the people of Okinawa do not seek to express themselves in the context of a sad existence, but rather they create humanistic principles on a scale larger than the islands in which they live – they are unshaken by despair. ‘The power of the wounded,’ which Kollwitz expressed through her works of art, can also be seen in the thinking of Okinawan people.”

Hong Song Dam, a South Korean artist who works with woodcuts and is an acclaimed member of the Minjung art movement, the South Korean political and populist art movement that used visual arts to resist a military government in the 1980s, said, “What works of art represent can vary depending on who collects them. I would like people to consider why so many of Kollwitz’s art works are in the possession of the Sakima Art Museum. I am paying close attention to how China, as a superpower, reacts to the pain suffered by the Okinawan people.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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