Law&Order NL exhibition opening and USA book launch

Law and Order, Uganda, Feb. 2013. Nakasangola Prison. This high security facility is Uganda's newest prison, built in 2007 for 600 inmates. It houses 667 men and 22 women.

Law and Order, Uganda, Feb. 2013. Nakasangola Prison. This high security facility is Uganda’s newest prison, built in 2007 for 600 inmates. It houses 667 men and 22 women.

 

Opening Law&Order in Centraal Museum, Utrecht (NL):
Sept. 8, 3:30 – 6PM
Agnietenstraat 3, 3512 XA, Utrecht
Exhibition: Sept. 9 – Nov. 27, 2016

US Book Launch Law&Order in Bronx Documentary Center:
Oct. 1, 2016: 7PM
614 Courtlandt Avenue (@ 151st St.) Bronx, New York 10451

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Exhibition Fontana Gallery in Brussels

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Fontana Gallery’s exhibition ‘TIME’ at art space Louise 186 in Brussels (Avenue Louise 186): a selection from Law&Order, Down and Out in the South, Comfort Women and Bureaucratics.
MARCH 04, 2016 until APRIL 03, 2016.

Jan Banning, Jehoshua Rozenman, Frans Beerens, Marchand & Meffre, Alain Declercq; our young talents Max Kraanen, Simone Hoang, Matthias Valewink; and, in collaboration with our dear friend Valerie Bach, the work of Biennale artists Feipel & Bechameil.

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Frank Siddiqui overleden.

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Afgelopen zondagochtend (21 februari) vroeg is Frank Siddiqui (1960-2016) overleden. In juli 2015 kreeg hij zijn doodsbericht: hij had kanker in een ongeneeslijk stadium. Maar in plaats van in paniek te raken, nam hij zich al heel snel een laatste groot doel voor: waardig te sterven.

Anderhalve dag vóór zijn dood, op vrijdagmiddag, was hij nog bij de presentatie van het boek dat hij heeft geëntameerd: “Wat lukt is wat je wilt”, over Frank en voor hem belangrijke aspecten van het leven: zijn verhouding met de wereld, zijn opvattingen over journalistiek, diversiteit, kunst en boeddhisme.
Daarin boeiende bijdragen van Frank zelf, en van mensen als journalisten Chris Keulemans en Frénk van der Linden, en muzikant Albert van Veenendaal.

Marja Vuijsje schreef een prachtig stuk over Franks bizarre jeugd en de teloorgang van zijn ouders. Grootvader was opperrechter van Brits-Indië. Na de Partition in 1947 verhuisde de verlichte moslimfamilie Siddiqui naar Karachi, Pakistan.
Franks vader kwam naar Nederland, naar het leek voorbestemd voor een topfunctie bij Philips. Daar ontmoette hij Franks moeder, kind van een paranoïde boerenzoon uit Yrseke die zichzelf acht talen leerde, plus viool spelen en bouwen – maar die zijn kinderen terroriseerde en na het huwelijk van zijn dochter met de ‘Aziaat’ begon hij de gesprekken met zijn schoonzoon op te nemen, overtuigd dat die een spion was.

Na enkele jaren in Cairo en Dhaka keerde het gezin terug naar Nederland. De carrière van Franks vader werd gefnuikt, volgens Frank omdat hij als Aziaat en als moslim werd gediscrimineerd – ondanks zijn hartstochtelijke pogingen tot aanpassing. Het huwelijk liep op de klippen, vader Siddiqui raakte aan de drank en stierf uiteindelijk als een door alles en iedereen verlaten zwerver. Kort na de scheiding, toen Frank 13 was, belandde zijn moeder, wier ambitie om zangeres te worden al evenzeer smoorde, in een psychiatrische inrichting. Zijn jongste broertje zat al in een pleeggezin, Frank en de tweede broer werden zo’n beetje opgevangen door de buren.

Zijn jeugd heeft Frank op allerlei manieren sterk beïnvloed: de muzikaliteit van zijn moeder en zijn opa (Frank was een gretig muzikant), de teloorgang van zijn vader (Frank richtte zich als journalist zeer heftig tegen de opkomende islamofobie), het isolement en later het uiteenvallen van het gezin: hij hunkerde naar vriendschap en geborgenheid.

Frank was onstuimig, slim, grappig en warmhartig. Maar hij was geen makkelijk mens. Marja Vuijsje beschrijft prachtig hoe hij vrienden belaagde door ‘het verongelijkte gnoompje dat in ons allen huist de vrije loop te laten’ en heeft het over ‘de giftige mails die hij in tijden van stress, somberheid, slapeloosheid en net dat ene borreltje te veel’ soms te snel verstuurde. Ik ken ze.
Maar des te groter is mijn bewondering voor de enorme ommekeer die de aanzegging van de dood in hem teweeggebracht heeft. In de maanden na juli 2015 loste hij alle – of zeker de meeste – conflicten met vrienden op. Onze brouille van jaren konden we in een gesprek van een kwartier uit de wereld jagen; we wierpen de onenigheid symbolisch van ons af door elk een zoete aardappel vanaf het balkon zo ver mogelijk weg te keilen.
Frank zocht de laatste maanden steun in het Boeddhisme. Hij leek meestentijds in het reine met de afsluiting van zijn leven en toonde zich een steeds gelukkiger mens.

Bij aankomst bij de boekpresentatie, vrijdag, zag hij geel tot in zijn oogwit. Maar (mede dankzij Retilin) kwam hij al snel op kamertemperatuur en werd hij kwiek en scherp zoals we hem kennen: een laatste, alle energie opsouperende explosie. De volgende ochtend begon het einde.

Hij is niet mijn eerste vriend die achter de horizon verdwijnt. Steeds is dat diepdroevig. Maar nog nooit heb ik een zo ‘inspirerend’ levenseinde van nabij meegemaakt. Uiteindelijk zullen we allemaal op onze eigen wijze moeten sterven. Maar als ik in mijn levensavond enigszins kan benaderen hoe Frank dat heeft gedaan, mag ik me gelukkig prijzen. Frank, ik dank je voor dit grootse voorbeeld en voor je vriendschap.

Lonnie en de vele vrienden, ik wens jullie heel veel sterkte met het gemis van een bijzondere man.
Exemplaren van het boek ‘Wat lukt is wat je wilt’ zijn voor € 12,50 te bestellen via info@rozenbergps.com

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Reactions to Comfort Women exhibition in Tokyo

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A few quickly made translations of reactions to the Comfort Women exhibition in Tokyo’s Kid Ailack Hall (organized by the Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace (WAM). From the Guest book:

“I would like to apologize to those women as one of the women who was born and is living in Japan. Truly, truly, I am sorry. Each person’s photo and sad and harsh experiences made me cry. I never forget the cruel thing that Japan has done. Facing the truth, I would like to raise my voice so that no other women or girls in the world be victimized this way. Thank you very much for surviving, telling the harsh experiences, and accepting to be photographed. The face of each person is so beautiful: beautiful eyes. I felt … sorrow, anger, strength, hope. I will buy a book and will look at each woman once in a while. I never forget each person, I reflect my own life. I will make effort that people will know and acknowledge, as many as possible.”
– 32 years old, women, nursery/ housewife

“I am glad I could know a little something about something I did not know before. I realize I need to know not only something to glorify when Japan was stronger but also what Japan has done before.
Education is very important and difficult thing, but we have to change it for the future.
I would like to send messages something familiar. Thank you so much!!”

“Seeing these pictures I felt like being thrown into the battle field at that time. These face of the women showed me the image of Japan in history.”

“There are too few places in Japan where we can learn about the Japanese aggression. I am interested in education the most: we need to teach about it in Japan. I am going to become a teacher and I myself will definitively teach about it. Thank you.”

“The photograph of the women on the poster (Wainem) was so powerful that I felt the pain of the raped women. What terrible things the Japanese military did! Probably it was due to the military system at that time, but victims are always the weak, women, especially girls. Such culture is still alive in Japan. We, women should be more angry about it.”

“I knew a Dutch lady, who was in Indonesia during the Japanese occupation, and who came, lived and died in Japan. She told me that her brother was killed by Japanese soldiers. She thought that Japanese men were lecherous (horny), and she didn’t like them to come close to her. I missed the chance to learn about the details, but it is not hard to imagine what she went through. It was not her idea to come to Japan. Luckily her daughter was always kind to her until she passed away. For the memory of this Dutch lady I came today to see the exhibition.”

“The words of the woman saying “I don’t want to remember that” made me realise how deep their pain and suffering is. I wonder how I should respond to their words, and how we can pass their stories on to our children, who will have nothing to do with them. I am sorry that my son, a university student, won’t come here.”

“To my shame I didn’t know anything about Comfort Women in Indonesia. The faces of these women appealed to me strongly: their anger, sadness, suffering, and long history. They made me cry.I hated white Americans because they discriminated native Americans, but Japan did the same.Jan said in a symposium that one woman told him ‘Take my photograph, I am the living proof’, although many others refused to talk due to their trauma. I was impressed by her courage.”

“I was overwhelmed and could not hold back my tears.”

“I knew about these Indonesian ladies thanks to the TBS (Japanese tv) documentary broadcast on tv (in which Hilde interviewed some of the women). But I felt like being electrified when I saw these photographs and read their stories. There was one women who was born in 1928. This Indonesian lady is as old as my mother and she went through such hardship. That was the moment when the history was connected to my own life.”

“I was impressed by the personal stories of all these women. It was good that they could overcome the past when the women were abused by Japanese soldiers, and that they could raise a family of their own. But it could be that they were the lucky ones.”

“Abe’s statement ‘we make peace by wars’ is a lie.”

“It is a nice exhibition, which really suits the gallery space. I thought about the dignity of each woman and the cruelty of violence which has harmed them.I came after I gave a lecture about the Comfort Women and the Nanking massacre at Meiji university. I thank Mr. Banning and the organizer for their efforts.”Kozo Nagata [ex-producer of NHK, who made a documentary of Comfort Women in 2005, which was seemingly sabotaged by Abe, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary at that time, a few days before the broadcast. Kozo left NHK and became a professor].

“Once in the gallery, in a quiet atmosphere, I am almost shuddered by the gaze of the old ladies who were made into “comfort women”. I am not sure of what their eyes are trying to convey, whether sorrow or anger. I felt they were appealing “please understand/know about us”.

“The existence of each person here are all true.
I think this is reality and they are testifiers of history.
I have not even tried to notice before.
‘But it is true.’
‘This is a true story.’
I felt like each person was talking to me.
I would like more and more people to see (the exhibition/photos).”

Thanks to WAM’s Mina Watanabe and to Fumi Hoshino who translated the reactions of the exhibition guestbook.
Thanks to Yamamoto Munesuke and to Ahn Sehong (last photo) for the use of their photos.

The exhibition was held in the Kid Ailack Hall (Oct 10-25, 2015) and organized by the Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace (WAM).

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Tokyo’s “Comfort Women” exhibition in Asahi Shimbun

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Asahi Shimbun (Japan, 6.5 million+ readers), Sunday. Oct. 15:
Translation:

Exhibition of portraits of Indonesian “Comfort Women”
It took a Dutch photographer 2 years

Frontal photographs of Indonesian women, who claimed that they received sexual violence from Japanese military during the Second World War, are exhibited in a Setagaya (Tokyo district) ward; “Japanese military comfort Women in Indonesia.” Remarkable are their eyes of these women.
Until 25th in Setagaya

In 2007 Dutch photographer Jan Banning (61) started taking the pictures. Together with Dutch journalist Hilde Janssen, who earlier began researching and interviewing the women, he spent two years to visit more than 50 women. Some of them didn’t want to talk or to be photographed. The research was difficult but they managed to photograph 46 women. 16 of them are exhibited now.

One of them, Ema, said that she was taken away from home when she was 16 years old and forced to work as prostitute for 3 years with a Japanese name “Miyako.” She also said that soldiers selected a girl from pictures of them shown at the entrance of the brothel. Mr. Banning decided to make frontal portraits as well now, just like these pictures at the time.

Women were in their teens or early twenties at that time. There was also a woman, who was kidnaped and confined when she was playing.

Mr. Banning said: “some people in Japan claim that Comfort Women were professional prostitutes, but these young girls could not be that. Please visit the exhibition, watch their faces, and think about them.”Ms. Jansen, who traced the women, said: “they are courageous women, who dared to talk about their past by showing their faces. Please have a look at their eyes. It is important for me to deliver their messages in order not to repeat the same thing.”

About the half of the 16 women have passed away already.
[furthermore: information about the Kid Ailack Hall in Tokyo and about the Women’s Museum on War and Peace that organized the exhibition]
Written by Maki Okubo.

Below the photo: Jan Banning (“this exhibition in Tokyo in the most important exhibition we could possibly have”) and Hilde Jansen.

Thanks to Fumi Hoshino for the translation.

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