By Abu Hanifah
JAKARTA, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia held an art creations exhibition to showcase the sufferings of Ianfu or "comfort women" during Japan colonization in Indonesia from 1941 to 1945.
The exhibition, entitled "Kitab Visual Ianfu" (the visual book of Ianfu) began from August 9 to 23 to commemorate World's Ianfu Day that falls on August 14. The Ianfu, was a Japanese term for woman treated as sexual slaves for Japan military troops during World War II, later on internationally known as "comfort women."
They were taken against their will to brothels for the Japanese imperial troops as comfort women.
The exhibition, organized by Indonesia Ianfu Committee, was held in Cemara 6 Gallery located at Jakarta, showcasing numerous cultural art creations created by 12 Indonesian female artists that highlight the sufferings of Indonesian comfort women.
Each painting and art product installed in several parts of the gallery was featured with narration, describing their sufferings and hopeless efforts to escape from the sex slavery.
Dolorosa Sinaga, the curator of the exhibition said that the visual arts exhibited in the event represent collegial works of inter-generation female artists, showing the shattered dreams of girls who wanted to make their families happy but they were tricked by Japanese military and collaborators to become comfort women.
She said most of Indonesian comfort women were taken in their teen ages from their families by Japanese troops and collaborators who promised to employ them in restaurants or as players of drama or singers. In many other cases they were simply kidnapped.
After they were placed in Ianjo, Japanese term for comfort women stations, they were raped and forced to sexually serve Japanese troops. Each of them had to serve up to 10 soldiers. They were kept in the Ianjo until many of them died under torture.
"The exhibition uses new approach to make public aware on atrocities that happened during Japan colonization and eventually help settle the comfort women issue in national and international levels," Eka Hindrati, independent researcher on Indonesian comfort women who wrote a novel entitled "Momoye they called me" told Xinhua on the sidelines of opening ceremony of the exhibition.
Eka, who co-organizer the event, said that cultural approach through arts has more powerful message to express the sufferings of comfort women rather than that words commonly used by politicians to address the issue.
She said that continuous efforts must be carried out to seek fair solutions and settlements in national and international levels for civilians and victims of cruelty conducted by Japanese military during the World War II.
Citing to results of research conducted by her and Japanese scholar Dr. Koichi Kimura, Eka said that Ianjo was established by Japanese military in all Indonesia's territory from westernmost province of Aceh to the easternmost Papua.
According to data issued by association of former Japan-affiliated Indonesian troops (Heiho) in 1996, the number of Indonesian comfort women was more than 19,000.