From September 5 until November 1 Photographer Jan Banning will take part in the exhibition “Forgotten Faces: The Comfort Women of World War II” at the Fullerton Museum
They came from Indonesia, China, Korea, the Philippines, and every region invaded by the Japanese Imperial Army in the dark years of 1932 – 1945: women and girls from conquered nations pressed into wartime service as so-called “comfort women” to meet the sexual needs of the Imperial Army in the field. The stories of these largely forgotten victims of war are being told through art in a special exhibit at the Fullerton Museum Center.
Overlooked for decades, the history of the Comfort Women is finally coming to international attention. Since the mid-1990s, survivors have shared their stories, and artists and filmmakers inspired by the womens’ ordeals have created stunning artwork in response. Forgotten Faces will feature paintings by Steven Cavallo, digital art and video by Chang- Jin Lee, and photography by Dutch artist Jan Banning.
Evidence of American victims of enforced prostitution by the Japanese military in the Dutch East Indies during World War II was uncovered in 2015 by Dutch investigative reporter Griselda Molemans. The information is part of the research for the book and documentary production ‘A Lifetime of War,’ to be published soon.
Jan Banning is a Dutch autonomous artist/photographer, based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He was born in Almelo (Netherlands) on May 4, 1954, from Dutch East Indies parents, and he studied social and economic history at the Radbout University of Nijmegen. Both of these facts have had a strong influence on his photographic works.
Banning’s work always has a social focus. The social political environment is put at the fore and it often concerns subjects that have been neglected within the arts and are difficult to portray: state power, consequences of war, justice and injustice. In the exhibition ‘Comfort Women’, he focuses on the psychological aspects; on the divergent influence that major social events have on individuals.
In addition to the art on display, the museum will feature three public programs on the theme of the Comfort Women and modern day sexual trafficking. One of these programs is named: “Behind the Lens with Jan Banning” and will be a conversation with Mr. Banning about his journey across Indonesia and his experience photographing Comfort Women. Details for this evening will be announced on the agenda of Fullerton Museum Center at a later date.